TV Genius - Research on EPG and Content Discovery

written by: Paul Johnson

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altTV Genius have released the results of a pan European study they have completed that investigated what influences your average couch potato - in terms of how they find content and what the biggest influences are in how they decide what to watch.

The results of the study, announced today ahead of IBC, show that although consumers are largely using the electronic programme guide (EPG) when watching television, it has comparatively little influence over the content they choose. The research reveals that traditional media such as newspapers and magazines are more effective in the content discovery process, as well as online sources or on-screen trailers.

This is an interesting piece of research that begins to provide some insights into how consumers currently find content, and could help to identify how content discovery and recommendations need to be developed into the future.

The survey showed that 81% of respondents in Continental Europe either occasionally or frequently use the EPG when watching television, with the figure for the UK alone rising to 96%. Of those consumers who occasionally use the EPG, only 3% said that the EPG was influential over what they watch. 37% said that magazines were major influencers. Among frequent users, only 35% said that the EPG was influential.

These figures begin to suggest that the traditional EPG is simply just a way to switch channels for most people right now, and much work will be required to develop the interface if it is to start influencing what consumers decide to watch.  The findings also suggest that age is driving a gap between traditional and more new media content discovery / recommendation.

While traditional media remain dominant over consumer decision making, newer media are also having an emerging influence, especially among the younger generation of ‘Digital Natives’. Among the 18-24 year olds surveyed, 20% said that trailers are the most influential factor over what they watch, while 11% preferred online sources. Only 12% of 18-24 year olds said magazines were the most influential factor over their decision making. This compares to 44% of over-55s influenced by magazines, and only 9% saying trailers and 6% using online.

Tom Weiss - CEO of TV Genius, who is presenting further findings of this research study at an IBC briefing in Amsterdam, said of the results:

“It is evident from our research that consumers consider the EPG an important part of the TV experience, yet it is traditional media such as magazines that have a stronger influence over what they decide to watch,”

“Maybe it is time for the industry to consider a more enhanced approach to the EPG. How can we take the best features of magazines, such as previews and recommendations, and incorporate them into the EPG?”

“We need to consider that on-demand content is not listed in magazines,” continued Tom Weiss.

“…If the best elements of the most dominant media can be incorporated into the widely used EPG, consumers will be able to navigate their way through the multitude of great content that is available to them, more easily. Therefore, either live or on-demand, viewers can discover more of the type of content they love.”

TV Genius will be presenting further outcomes from the research at an IBC Business Briefing.  The session will examine the findings in detail and will look at content discovery from a number of industry perspectives, with further presentations from UK-based platform owner IPVision and from publishing group IPC Media. The briefing takes places on Saturday September 11th 2010 at 16.30 in the Connected World Hub in Hall 9.



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