According to close sources at various Asian broadcasters, Sky Digital is proposing minor changes in the ‘International’ section of the EPG channel line-up.

The ‘International’ category is dominated with Asian TV channels and if this proposal is approved then changes could go live around Monday 23rd July.

The foremost reason behind the changes is to ultimately make way for new international changes awaiting to launch and also to fill in existing gaps (vacant slots) in the ‘International’ EPG channel line-up.

It is understood, international channels, which are expected to launch in June and July are being advised to either delay the launch of its channel (s) or alternatively temporary launch in Sky’s “overspill EPG section”.

According to a Sky source, “In order to provide for further listings at the bottom of the International genre, we are proposing to fill all unallocated programme numbers in the genre by moving all channels listed at or below number 787 upwards. We are currently consulting on this proposal with broadcasters of channels listed in the International genre, and propose carrying out the genre move on or around 23rd July 2007.”

Launch delays

An option being given by Sky to channels looking at launching in June/July is to delay the launch of its channel(s) until after Monday 23rd July, so a permanent EPG slot(s) can be issued. A number of broadcasters have delayed their launch until August so the changes can take place.

One broadcaster said; “I would rather launch in August with a permanent EPG number instead of informing viewers of two different numbers – one in June and the other in August.”

U-Like Media’s upcoming channels Mana Telugu (regional) and UNN (news channel) have been given a provisional launch date of Monday 11th June. It is not yet known if U-Like Media has accepted Sky’s provisional date or if it was waiting for the changes to take place before launching its two channels.

If a broadcaster decides to delay the launch of its channel due to the proposed changes, Sky is ensuring them that it will give it prominence over other new international channels once the EPG re-organisation is complete.

Overspill section

If channels go ahead with launching before the proposed changes, Sky is likely to add these channels to an “overspill section”, which will be situated between EPG numbers 890 and 898. EPG numbers 880 886 are currently allocated to channels listed in the ‘Specialist’ genre and EPG numbers 900 963 are allocated to channels listed in the ‘Adult’ genre of the EPG.

If a channel(s) has opted to launch before the 23rd July and it۪s added to the “overspill section”, the programme TV guide (in main menu) of these channels will only be accessible if viewed in ‘All Channels’ or by the EPG ‘search and scan’ function.

A Sky source explains; “The listing of these channels in the International overspill section would mean that when accessing the channel by scrolling through the ‘All Channels’ option in the main menu of the EPG, or when scrolling up or down using the ‘search and scan’ functionality, the channel will be listed in numerical order, and will not necessarily appear adjacent to other channels listed in the ‘International’ genre. However, if the channel is accessed through the ‘International’ option in the main menu, the channel will appear alongside channels listed in the main section of the International genre. Please note that the listing of the channel in the International overspill section of the EPG would only be temporary. Following the completion of the genre move, these channels will be listed in the main section of the ‘International’ genre (which is situated between programme numbers 780-839).”

Our sister site, today reported changes in the ‘Entertainment’ section of the EPG taking place in June. Full details can be accessed here. Other Sky EPG genres are also likely to use an ‘overspill section’ method to allow new channels to launch whilst reshuffling/re-organisation of EPG categories are taking place.

Raj TV, which is available in the ‘Entertainment’ section of the Sky EPG is currently on channel 187, it will be moved to 171 on Monday 18th June.