Eutelsat rolls out upgraded FTA EPG | Satellite | News | Rapid TV News
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In a move that it says “vastly” enhances audience engagement potential for its broadcast customers, leading satellite operator Eutelsat has announced the successful launch of, its enhanced electronic programme guide for free-to-air channels. is designed to give TV audiences what the operator calls “an unparalleled” free-to-air user experience, with the broadest content visibility, while enabling broadcasters to maximise their reach and increase their ability to target specific viewers. The service is already operating at the 7/8° West position, serving over 56 million Arabic-speaking homes across the Middle East and North Africa and is being progressively deployed at other Eutelsat video neighbourhoods.

New features include free-to-air satellite receivers that are compatible with the service to simplify the user experience and give visibility to an entire channel line-up. The guide provides a preview of all the programmes to be aired, filtered by content genre. The guide also includes programme thumbnails, said to be a first for the FTA market. All channels on the guide are automatically installed on the satellite receivers with a fixed channel numbering. Receivers are updated automatically overnight, so any new channels can be immediately found by viewers without needing to re-scan.

Channels are now presented with their name, logo, and channel genre, written in the local language (including Arabic script), giving viewers a graphic-based navigation. They are referenced with a single channel number and can be discovered by filtering on a specific channel theme. In addition to a unique channel numbering system, a selection of channels that are of interest to the end-user’s country are listed first. This allows an orbital position to be customised geographically and is said to enable national broadcasters to be found more easily by their core target audience.

In addition to helping broadcasters find relevant audiences, Eutelsat says such capability also allows them to drive different audiences to different video feeds and customise advertising inventories to specific audiences meaning such targeted engagement can boost advertising revenues.

The regionalised channel numbering is also regarded as a potential a unique asset for countries seeking to extend their terrestrial TV (DTT) network with satellite coverage, as the receivers enable the channel numbering required by the local regulator to be used, as with DTT distribution. is already being implemented by set-top box manufacturers for whom it is available free-of-charge for set-top box vendors, as well as for broadcasters operating at Eutelsat’s video hotspots. “We have appreciated’s innovative solution, it will allow our channels to be presented together in a consistent manner, with logos and descriptions translated in local languages,” said Michael Cairns, chief operating officer at Rotana Media Group commenting on the launch. “It gives full visibility to our programming in an attractive graphical navigation that’s easy to use.”

Added Serge Schick, international development director and commercial resources at France Media Monde, on behalf of France 24: “ is the perfect tool for us to fully leverage our massive audience at Eutelsat’s 7/8°W orbital position. The channel numbering system logically positions us with other news content and enables us to communicate on a single channel number so that our viewers can easily find us.”