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Navigators and Electronic Programme Guides: the Market in Orientation Guides for Digital Television Environments

Navigators and Electronic Programme Guides: the Market in Orientation Guides for Digital Television Environments

In digital television environments, navigators and Electronic Programme Guides (EPGs) are acquiring a strategically significant role: they form the decisive junction between the available contents and applications and the users. Initiated under the aegis of The Joint Commission on Digital Access of the State Media Authorities and coordinated by the Austrian Academy of Sciences, an investigation is meant to analyse the current status and the perspectives of the relevant market as well users’ behaviour.

The partial study conducted by the Hans-Bredow-Institut examined the development of the services on the basis of publicly accessible information and complementary discussions with experts. Every receiver, every set top box for digital television requires at least one basis-navigator in order to find the individual programmes in the digital data stream.


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Project Description

In order to launch a new EPG service in the market, the cooperation of the manufacturers of the devices, the platform operators and programme providers is required, each of whom pursues its individual interests. The purchase of the set-top box decides the availability of an EPG – a uniform platform allowing various EPGs to be used with one device does not yet exist.
For the market development, the following barriers were identified:

  • There is no incentive for manufacturers of receiving devices to equip their products so that various electronic programme guides could be used.
  • Operators of broadcasting platforms do not have any interest in competing navigation offerings.
  • Television broadcasters are to an extent interested in keeping control of the use of information about their programmes and in charging for usage through third parties.
  • For TV guide magazines, electronic programme guides mean increased competition. The publishing houses initially attempt their own cooperation projects with EPG providers instead of pursuing a uniform technological platform, by which they can enter into competition using their specific competence as regards content.
  • Viewers are not yet familiar with the use of electronic programme guides. When purchasing the device, the fact that it is equipped with an electronic programme guide is only one aspect among many others, so that this does not result in increased competitive pressure on manufacturers.

The results of the entire project were presented at a workshop in Berlin on 22 October 2008.

Project Information


Duration: 2008-2008

Third party

Gemeinsame Stelle Digitaler Zugang (GSDZ) der Landesmedienanstalten

Cooperation Partner

Contact person

Dipl.-Soz. Hermann-Dieter Schröder
Associated Researcher Media Management & Media Organisation

Dipl.-Soz. Hermann-Dieter Schröder

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