Will they or won’t they?

The Radio Times‘ website has, in my humble, been the best TV listings site in the UK for some time now, long periods of flaky server availability notwithstanding. However, the competition has been so dire that I still didn’t think it was up to much. It did mostly work, and the design was at least reasonably clean, but that was about all one could say of it.

They’ve now unveiled a sparkling new redesign, and the site is genuinely prettier, with a neat little hover-box telling you exactly when the show you’re pointing to starts and ends (a basic problem with the previous version). All well and good. But… will they go the extra mile and provide us all with customised RSS feeds of programme times? Because then we could, you know, do really cool things with keyword extraction, scheduling systems, capture cards, and so on. Roll-your-own-Tivo would be a darned sight easier if listings were so readily available. It’s possible that The Radio Times might now allow this, but as I write the link to their ‘services’ page (mobile phones and PDAs mentioned) goes here… which is ‘not found.’

Meanwhile… why is scheduling information so hard to find? Surely it’s in the best interests of the broadcasters themselves to make the data as widely-available as possible? Or do they provide the raw data to publications like the Radio Times as a commercial venture? That is, is the schedule itself a revenue stream?

I’m just asking.

2 Comments on "Will they or won’t they?"

  1. “� why is scheduling information so hard to find?” Well, it’s a big money market, if you look at the news stands and count all the TV listing publications.
    I think you’re right, the schedule is a revenue stream, and restricting direct, easy ‘net access means having to go and buy a paper copy, which is no doubt out of date the minute it’s printed.


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