The Age reports that television guide data with be made freely available to manufacturers of digital video recorders. This will make it much easier to record programs. The newspaper reported it as a “massive blow to free-to-air TV.” But how could that be? Knowing what’s on is surely a way to get consumers to tune in; especially Foxtel viewers where information on Channels 7 and 10 are blocked out. Yes, it is true that recording is made easier but viewing is easier too.
Part of this was spurred by ACMA moves in this direction. The Foxtel spokesperson was supportive:
Foxtel spokeswoman Rebecca Melkman said: “If all consumers are able to access free-to-air electronic program information, we look forward to the networks supplying the information to the one-in-four households in Australia that have Foxtel.
“We have had an integrated electronic program guide for 3½ years, which now also operates on the internet and soon on mobile phones,” she said.
The question for those hoping to purchase a Tivo next year is, will the ACMA also move on Foxtel to make its guide data freely available? After all, you can’t have these rights just one way.
[Update: I spoke too soon, according to this report it looks like Foxtel wont have access.
But Foxtel will not get access. Subscribers to its iQ DVR will need to use a free-TV-approved service to record Seven and Ten programs, which are unavailable on Foxtel’s digital platform.
All too confusing really.
It gets worse. Sigh.]