Pay TV channels from NBC Universal, MTV and Fox have all gained better positions in BSkyB’s electronic programming guide (EPG) after the UK pay TV operator announced the biggest EPG shake-up for over ten years.
EPG positioning on the pay TV service, the largest in the UK with 10 million subscribers, is crucial in terms of ratings and viewer sampling and there is fierce competition for the premium slots.
MTV’s Comedy Central has bumped up from 126 to 112 on the EPG. NBCU’s Universal Channel and Syfy will occupy slots 113 and 114 in the new order, moving up from 129 and 130. Fox International Channels also registers a big gain with its FX channel moving from 164 to 124. The five main UK free-to-air channels remain in the top five slots on the first page of the EPG.
Sky’s own channels figure prominently among the changes. Sky 2 and Sky 3 lose their positions on the front page of the EPG and are replaced by Sky Living and Sky Atlantic respectively in the 107 and 108 slots. Channel One, the rebranded Virgin One channel is being closed freeing up two slots on the second page of the EPG that will be filled by Sky Living+1 and Sky Livingit.
“We want our customers to be able to discover and enjoy the content they are most passionate about. That’s why we’ve worked with a range of partner channels to ensure that customers can find their favourite pay TV channels and programming as easily as possible,” says Rob Webster, Sky’s commercial director.
The channels re-ordering also involve a raft of high definition channels swapping positions with their standard definition equivalents. For example, Sky’s flagship entertainment channel Sky One HD moves from the 170 to the 106 slot with the SD channel moving in the other direction. In all, 40 HD channels will be swapping with their SD counterparts including Eurosport HD, Discovery HD, Disney XD HD, Nat Geo HD and Nickelodeon.