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“EPG is broken” says Twitter boss

With its grid-like display and limited screen functionality the Electronic Programme Guide has not changed much in 30 years but new content players that have equity with the TV audience look set to shake this up. During Thursday lunchtime’s session ‘From EPG to PPG’, Twitter director of business development Brenda O’Connell declared that the EPG was “broken”.

The panel, chaired by Decipher MD Nigel Walley, agreed that a growing list of nonlinear content brands – such as Netflix, Redbull and Vice – needed to exist now alongside traditional broadcasters with a channel line-up that made sense. 

“People are watching TV from anywhere, any time across any device. At the moment it’s chaos. Viewers are lost,” O’Connell added.

Twitter has been working with the TV industry to integrate the ‘social’ aspect into the EPG, including a recent partnership with Xbox One to create an overlay that allowed viewers to see Matthew McConaughey’s tweets during an episode of TrueDetective.

The Twitter boss revealed that its partnership with US broadcaster Fox on hip hop drama Empire led to one in seven viewers (6 million) tuning into the show via social media referrals. The social media giant is also set to introduce TV timelines into Twitter itself, which will display curated content around key TV shows.

Established EPG player Zap TV Media is planning to launch a social media Personal Programme Guide (PPG) next year. The online TV aggregator will allow users to share TV info across social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and enable their mobile phones to be used as remote control devices.