Here’s a stat for you. Each month, Sky TV customers on average interact with the Sky Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) a total of more than 1.2 billion times.
It’s an astonishing figure, and highlights just how integral the EPG is to the experience we offer our 10 million plus TV customers.
It’s also why we take a great deal of care when we come to think about how we might further improve the EPG for our customers, since providing an intuitive, easy-to-use EPG is a critical factor in us helping our customers get the most they can out of their Sky subscription.
With all of this in mind, today we’re beginning to roll out a new-look Sky Guide for customers with Sky+HD boxes. It’s a phased roll-out which will last throughout this year, starting with ten of thousands of boxes from today and expanding to millions more before the end of 2012.
One of the key changes that customers will notice over the next few months is that the design of the pages reflects the increasing popularity of on-demand viewing, following the success of our internet delivered video on-demand service Sky Anytime+, which as of last month is now available to 5 million homes with a Sky+HD box through any internet connection.
Integrating our on-demand and other options into the landing page for a particular genre gives our customers a snapshot of all the different viewing options available to them, helping them make the most of the choice of high quality content available through a Sky subscription.
Sky Movies customers, for instance, can chose between viewing movies live, watching movies that they’ve previously recorded to their Sky+ planner or on on demand through Sky Anytime+ and renting a film through the Sky Store. There is also a search function available on the page, which allows Sky Movies customers to search for a particular film they may have in mind.
Other changes include a larger number of channels available per page, increasing from six to eight channels, making it easier to Sky customers to browse through content.
Meanwhile, in the Sky+ Planner, customers will have the option to browse through their recordings by genre, so that where previously recorded programmes were displayed chronologically, they are now collected together so that customers can browse through shows belonging to the same genre.
And, on top of this, the whole Sky Guide will also be available in pinpoint HD, delivering sharp graphics consistent with the stunning quality of our HD channels.
The launch of the new Sky Guide also marks the first time that we’ve involved Sky subscribers in the development process, having invited a selection of our customers to test the design over the last few months. This approach has proved to be a big success, since testing the functionality and features with such a highly-engaged group has identified a number of improvements that have since been incorporated into the new look. We're very grateful for the invaluable feedback.
What was also noticeable was how much these customers enjoyed playing a part in helping building this new product, and it's certainly something that we will be looking to repeat with other software trials.
As I say, these developments are being introduced over the coming months, so customers with Sky+HD boxes shouldn’t expect to see them immediately - but please be assured they will appear sometime before the end of the year.
For more info, please visit www.sky.com/skyguide.