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dosxuk4,330 posts since 22 Oct 2005
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
What are they paying for the all the extra regions to be on the Sky EPG, and if it's that good value why aren't ITV doing it?

Surely you'd start to make a saving if you got rid of all the EPG slots for the variants as well as the slots for Parliament, CBBC and Cbeebies.

Besides, it would f*** up Sky's EPG organisation. You'd either have a general entertainment channel in the Kids section, or vice versa.

That's hardly a good enough reason not to do it, if it were to say save a few BBC local radio stations or coverage of the Six Nations and Formula 1.

Three and Four would in effect become one big general entertainment channel.

As I said I have no idea if this would make a saving.


I imagine the costs of an EPG slot are a tiny fraction of the costs of actually getting the channel to / from the satellite. One requires a significant amount of hardware and access to a limited number of resources, and the other is an entry in a database. I doubt very much that deleting a couple of rows from the database would free up enough cash to pay for even one grand prix / six nations match.

In the case of the regional/national variants, all the data still has to be there anyway, so you're literally only talking about the cost of a channel number, up in the 900s, so very little resell value for anyone, to the point where it's probably has a positive result in a cost/benefit analysis from allowing people from around the country to watch any of the channels.
dosxuk4,330 posts since 22 Oct 2005
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Until that database fills up and slots become a commodity?


But there's not going to be much demand for the regional slots up in the 900s, unless loads of new porn channels want to launch. Plus it's likely we'll hit a limit on the number of channels able to be carried physically before we run out of EPG numbers. And even if we do run out of EPG numbers, it's only a software update to create a new numbering scheme with additional numbers - it's not really in Sky's interest to run out of EPG slots.
Markymark7,469 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today

I imagine the costs of an EPG slot are a tiny fraction of the costs of actually getting the channel to / from the satellite. One requires a significant amount of hardware and access to a limited number of resources, and the other is an entry in a database. I doubt very much that deleting a couple of rows from the database would free up enough cash to pay for even one grand prix / six nations match.

In the case of the regional/national variants, all the data still has to be there anyway, so you're literally only talking about the cost of a channel number, up in the 900s, so very little resell value for anyone, to the point where it's probably has a positive result in a cost/benefit analysis from allowing people from around the country to watch any of the channels.


There is one factor, you've not considered, it's the 'regionalisation' fees that BSkyB charge the Beeb. You're quite right, basic EPG inclusion is trivial, compared to all the other costs, and those costs are regulated by Ofcom. However, back in 2003 when Greg Dyke declared he wasn't going to pay BSkyB's encryption costs anymore, and announced that the BBC would be moving from being encrypted on Astra 2B to unencrypted on the 'UK narrowbeam' Astra 2D, at the same time he said that all 22 or so BBC 1 and 2 regions would be available, and available UK wide. For that to happen, BSkyB had to provide a 'bespoke' regionalistion service, basically to map to Ch 101 and 102 the correct region for a given registered postcode. The cost of that, is not regulated by Ofcom. The Beeb have never publicly stated what they are paying for that service, but it's thought by some to be not far off the original fees they paid pre 2003 for encryption. ITV of course have the same service, and in fact initially the same postcode database was applied to the BBC, which is why for the first few months, a few areas had the wrong BBC 1 region on 101. ITV have never stated what they pay BSkyB for that, again those costs (over and above basic EPG inclusion) are outside of Ofcom's jurisdiction.

Of course, none of that applies to the Freesat platform, which the Beeb are major stakeholders in.
WillPS
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Until that database fills up and slots become a commodity?


But there's not going to be much demand for the regional slots up in the 900s, unless loads of new porn channels want to launch. Plus it's likely we'll hit a limit on the number of channels able to be carried physically before we run out of EPG numbers. And even if we do run out of EPG numbers, it's only a software update to create a new numbering scheme with additional numbers - it's not really in Sky's interest to run out of EPG slots.


My understanding of the situation was that it's not so much the number, but the number of numbers. The very earliest Sky Digital boxes don't have sufficient memory for more channels on the EPG than there currently are.

Therefore, if a new channel wants to launch *anywhere* on the EPG, they have to buy a slot from an already existent broadcaster/EPG holder. Whether they use that actual number or not is up to them, they could swap it for another vacant one (subject to normal EPG positioning rules).

I could be wrong.
thegeek5,203 posts since 1 Jan 2002
London London
That was my understanding too. Though I wonder if Sky could free up a few dozen slots by removing the HD channels from the SD EPG. (And not re-using those channel numbers, but making an equivalent number of slots available)
WillPS
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I think they quite like them being there as a (small) bit of promotion.

If they actually wanted a solution, surely it'd be best to selectively give out EPG slots based on boxes. I actually think Sky quite like the idea of slots in a database becoming a commodity though, especially since they own so many of them.
noggin14,679 posts since 26 Jun 2001
That was my understanding too. Though I wonder if Sky could free up a few dozen slots by removing the HD channels from the SD EPG. (And not re-using those channel numbers, but making an equivalent number of slots available)


How would that work on HD boxes though? Where would the SD channels that take up the HD channel slots appear on HD boxes, where the HD channels would be in their places? (Are you suggesting that they get two different channel numbers - one for SD boxes and one for HD boxes?)
thegeek5,203 posts since 1 Jan 2002
London London
That was my understanding too. Though I wonder if Sky could free up a few dozen slots by removing the HD channels from the SD EPG. (And not re-using those channel numbers, but making an equivalent number of slots available)


How would that work on HD boxes though? Where would the SD channels that take up the HD channel slots appear on HD boxes, where the HD channels would be in their places? (Are you suggesting that they get two different channel numbers - one for SD boxes and one for HD boxes?)


Taking Sky News as an example:
on an HD box, Sky News HD on 501, and SD on 517.
On an SD box, Sky News on 501. To avoid confusion, 517 would not be used for anything; but it'd free up a slot for another channel elsewhere on the EPG.

I've only got a vaguest idea how a Digibox handles this kind of thing, so it's really just idle conjecture. As WillPS says, they no doubt like having the HD versions in the EPG as an incentive to upgrade.
benriggers781 posts since 19 Sep 2005
Meridian (South) Oxford


that daft, half the programme is either bbc news, ceefax OR better still signed programmes which is part of there commitment. also Question times is on at 10.35 and also this week,


According to the Guardian, Mark Thompson has suggested that slots used by overnight programming could be taken up by HD shows.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/mar/22/bbc-could-axe-overnight-programming?
"They don't want your name, just your number"