Dr Farid El-Husseini


FEH Media Insight

M. +44 (0) 7969 264 360

T. +44 (0) 117 330 4773

E. farid.el-husseini@feh-mi.com

Ofcom publishes FEH Media Insight report on the viewing impact of EPG prominence


One of the benefits of holding PSB licences is the right to an appropriate degree of prominence on EPGs (electronic programme guides), and in practice this has resulted in page one prominence in the case of ITV and Channel 5. Ofcom considers that this right to appropriate EPG prominence is ‘likely to carry some value but that estimating that value is difficult’. To help determine the financial terms for the renewal of the Channel 3 (ITV) and Channel 5 public service broadcast (PSB) licences, Ofcom therefore commissioned FEH Media Insight to assess the viewing impact on ITV and Channel 5 if they were to lose this right and suffer a significant loss of EPG prominence on all the major broadcast platforms in the UK.

The report analyses the evidence from 29 examples of actual EPG reshuffles that occurred over the 2010-2012 period. Of the 29 examples analysed, 25 examples (86%) support an argument that EPG positioning affects audience performance, 3 examples are inconclusive and 1 supports an argument that EPG positioning does not affect audience performance. The evidence therefore strongly supports the view that EPG positioning is likely to have a significant impact on a channel’s performance.

This evidence is then combined with an algorithm designed to take account of the extent to which the uniqueness of the content and overall brand strength of ITV and Channel 5 are likely to mitigate the viewing impact of a significant move down the EPG. This results in a number of scenario options that vary in the extent to which they are tied to the available empirical evidence, and therefore also as to how speculative they are. For Channel 5, the range of predicted outcomes generated by the central scenarios gives a minimum performance loss of 5.9% and a maximum loss of 24.3%. For ITV, on the other hand, the corresponding minimum readily predictable performance loss is close to negligible at 0.2%, with the maximum still remaining relatively small at 2.3%. That being said, a more speculative though not necessarily implausible scenario (given the strong empirical evidence for the very significant viewing impacts that can be associated with reshuffles involving page one EPG slots) puts the likely loss for ITV at between 7.9% and 15.8%. The corresponding loss under the same scenario for Channel 5 is between 13.1% and 26.3%.

To view the report click on the link below:

Impact of EPG Prominence Report