Optus Ditches TV Listings Magazine

Optus has announced plans to stop producing a print guide for subscribers to its pay TV service, claiming that most people now use the electronic program guide (EPG) to find what they want to watch. What's your preferred method for keeping track of what's on the box?

Picture by theducks

TV Tonight reports that Optus' pay TV guide will cease production from February. Optus hasn't been signing up new TV bundle subscribers since earlier in 2009, so the move isn't exactly unexpected. However, TV Tonight's David Knox thinks this is a bad idea:

TV Tonight is a firm believer that as necessary as online and EPGs are, they are never a replacement for a traditional print Guide, particularly for such a vast landscape as Pay Television where viewers are overwhelmed by content. There is nothing that can replace being able to browse through detailed information, circling highlights, being attracted to shows from photographs, and reading interviews and stories.

I haven't personally gone near a printed TV guide in years -- for casual viewing, the digital EPG is plenty, and if I want to plan viewing, I'll go to the relevant web sites for the channels. If you use a PVR device, you're likely to be even less concerned about when regular series are actually on, and the same applies to Channel BT. For the biggest pay TV channels, there's often listings in newspapers, and Foxtel subscribers can still pay $3.50 a month for a print guide.

How do you keep track of what's coming up on TV, or did you stop caring long ago? Tell us in the comments.

Optus TV dumps monthly magazine [TV Tonight]


Comments

    If by EPG they mean the Foxtel list through the remote on the TV hen yes I use that for as you say casual viewing.
    The big issue I have is that it is not by package but by some ill conceived category. I really do not want to have a list of the channels to which I am not subscribed muddled in with what I pay for. I know they want to attract me to pay more but I don't want to. If they can create a list for the subscription packages on their web then they could do the same on the EPG.

    The other problem with EPG is that it provides info on current and next program - so program 2 away there is only the title. And the titles only show for next 12 hours or so

    So to plan my viewing I use http://www.yourtv.com.au/
    I can select just the channels I want and also has Personal Guide and email warning of start. And the info is precise with links to IMDB etc

    Optus or Foxtel by another name really need to improve their game - I am close to giving them away.

    I have the Platimum Optus package which gave me the mag as part of the deal and of course all the stations - I completely agree that flicking through a magazine is a better way to go for this many channels. I was a little miffed that I didn't get a discount off my package price when the mag finishes but was really annoyed that the onscreen guide has now removed the capacity to search by program title, meaning the only way to find a program you know is in there somewhere is to scroll through the stations until you find it. I can use an online service and while I am an ubergeek on most things, for this one area, I'd rather have a mag.

    Hi Guys,

    Well, just to give you an idea of my views, the following is an extract from a letter I recently sent to the management of Optus cable and the Board. Will be interesting to see if any of these people actually see the letter, let alone take any notice of it!! No response yet !!

    " 7. Finally, but not least in my list of whines, I am now losing my station guide! What quong-nong came up with this beauty ? Especially after Optus introduces umpteen additional channels to get confused with !!

    Just so you understand what an average viewer really wants:

    • Some viewers often like to know in advance what’s going to be on the set so they can try to be at home to watch a certain show.

    • A lot of people do not have a laptop or computer sitting in their loungeroom and it is far easier to scan a few pages of a viewing guide than it is to plow through screen after screen of EPG and internet channel information. I think that is why commercial TV guides are still made available free in newspapers and sold as magazines.

    By the way, do you realise how convoluted your website and EPG processes are?

    One cannot even print out a daily, all stations guide on your website, even if one has the computer and equipment and actually understands how to do it.

    • We are an ageing population with many viewers not familiar, with EPGs and modern technology and even if they are, the EPG only advances for one week and one has to scroll through multiple slow loading screens to try and find what might or might not be on. The only real benefit of the EPG is, that it does provide a programme synopsis and reasonably accurate programme times – other than that it really is tedious to use.

    • and let’s not forget the little unreliability factor of programmes not being screened as per the actual time, or indeed not even being shown – What a gem!!

    • Do you also realise, that the paper program doesn’t have to be the glitz and glamour tome that you currently provide and please don’t insult our intelligence with feedback about saving the environment!! Consider how much paper, ink and energy is wasted in one Optus promotional letter box drop or magazine insert.

    The guides that I’ve seen overseas are really quite simple, half the size and manufactured on newspaper like material – still does the same job, without the unnecessary costs of glossy paper and unnecessary editorials."

    I think it is time these large conglomerates started to take a little notice of user requirements, show some consideration and stop feeding the big cat salaries for useless "save a dime lose a dollar" strategies. They might also like to think about the fact that we are an aging population who really don't want too much change and aren't as technically savvy as some of the "hotshot kids" they have working for them.

    Just my thoughts.... what does the rest of Australia think??

    Mike

    I can understand why Optusvision is not signing up many viewers, and is losing viewers in Queensland because it will not adjust its viewing times to take into account there is no daylight saving time in Queensland and viewers are inconvenienced by the requirement to commenced viewing earlier.

    In many cases viewers have not reached home from work when the evening shows have started so who would want to subscribe to Optusvision.

    Only idiots in management could not see the implications of not adjusting the viewing times.

    There should not be bonuses for these incompetents but they should be made to show cause why the should continue to be employed.

    This won't happen because of the mates club - if it were a family concern they would call it nepotism.

    My mother is elderly, does not have a computer and is easily baffled with technology. She is lost and frustrated without a magazine program guide, she professes to have lost interest in what's on Optus cable as she cannot look a head and plan what she wants to watch. She consequently is thinking of stopping the Optus service. I can't see how Optus can be so blind to the fact that they are alienating many of their elderly viewers in this obvious (albiet thoughtless) move to economize.

    Alice

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