ACMA Tells TV Networks To Clean Up Their EPG Act

Electronic program guides (EPGs) aren't much use if the networks don't provide accurate information about when programs are actually due to start and finish. Networks are doing a poor enough job that ACMA has decided to start publishing monthly monitoring guides tracking just how accurate the information provided by the networks actually is.

According to the regulator, while networks have covered most requirements under the EPG monitoring principles it introduced last year, what it calls "present and following information", which includes start and finish times, hasn't been delivered as well during its standard three-month monitoring from April to June:

Some metropolitan broadcasters (most significantly Channel 9 and the ABC) frequently failed to meet this element of the EPG principles.

After the networks told ACMA that new playout systems used for broadcasting would improve accuracy, a separate monitoring project just covering July 2010 was launched. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results weren't any better:

The ACMA's monitoring of present/following information accuracy during July 2010 has identified that, while some broadcasters (most significantly SBS and Channel 10) had consistently met this element of the EPG principles to a high level of accuracy, others (most significantly Channel 9, the ABC and WIN) had frequently failed to meet this element of the principles.

ACMA's incentive for the increased monitoring is the pending launch of parental locks as a standard feature for all set-top boxes and TVs, but it's welcome news for viewers sick of finding that programs start and finish with no predictability at all. Which networks do you find do the worst job of sticking to their schedule? Share your experiences in the comments.

ACMA [via TV Tonight]

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Comments

    Well Channel 7 did show the correct starting times in their EPG until this week when it started showing the times as the published times. It really confused me cause I thought City Homocide was starting on time for once.

    It's about friggin time someone took a shot at these guts. I've had to add a 20 minute pad to my recordings and with channel 9 in particular I still sometimes miss the end. Problem is though, how much power does the "ACMA" actually have? Hopefully, enough to wake them up. :(

      I agree, Channel 9 is by far the worst for running overtime. I have to pad out any recordings by at least 15 or 20 minutes in case it goes over. And i've still had the odd show where the end was cut off.

    I'd be able to watch most of the programs I wanted to watch. Much of the time I use both tuners to tape back to back programs because I need the over lap due to poor EPG adherence.

    Ahhh Digital TV in Australia is just a joke really. They need to give the whole system an overhaul. Just look at the mess with all the different channels, HD channels becoming non-HD channels, Sports only channels showing the same thing and general channels, EPG's having apparently random start and end times in them, OzTAM ratings only for the primary channels, 3D kinda happening, but kinda not happening, Freeview or not Freeview.

    Just wipe the slate clean, and start again. Say you can do this, this and this. You need to do it in this format. Provide this information to go along with it.

    I have found the ABC to be the worst for me, with my weekly recordings being 12 minutes late consistently.

    GO! is not too bad, i've found it to be about 6 minutes off.

    Its incredibly frustrating to miss the last few minutes! I can understand that live broadcasts might go over time but something really needs to be done here in Australia.

      I don't understand the live broadcasts going over - if they know what time they have to end, have the person I their ear saying "Cut them off, we have to finish", then if it does go over by a minute or two, do that many minutes lass ads in between.

      Being "Live" is just an excuse.

    Strange that ABC gets mentioned as one of the worst offenders, they're probably the only channel that works on a time frame even remotely similar to their published guide. I can't remember the last time I saw something on Channel 10 where it actually started at the same time that tvguide.com said it would. Admittedly, that's a different thing than the EPG (which I rarely use because it is much slower than looking up the guide online) but it's still rather strange.

      @Trjn - I agree that it's hard to see ABC as a key offender. I've noticed that they've started to fudge starting times by up to a few minutes due to station promo overkill but it's nothing like 9 or to a lesser degree 7. I don't find anything wrong with 10.

    Absolutely about time. I'm so sick of having 10 minutes of 'dancing with the stars' at the start of my shows and then missing the last 10 minutes on my PVR.

    GO ACMA!

    My EPG can never get information for any of Channel 7 channels. Its so frustrating.

    I've not found ABC to be that bad. 7 & 9 seem to be the worst offenders. Someone should be punished for making me watch the X Factor or whatever instead of American Dad.

    I have noticed that this year my viewing habits have changed because of the blatant lateness and frustrations with Seven and Nine. Just flicking through the channels now, Nine is almost 10 minutes over time with some garbage police drama.

    That said, most of my viewing is now on Ten, OneHD, ABC1, ABC2, SBS and TVS - and these channels do have the most accurate programming in my opinion.

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