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.