How an 8-year old delayed Sky EPG upgrade

By Julian Clover
September 13, 2009 09.07 UK

Sky HD EPGIBC 2009 – Amsterdam. In a new twist on pester power, Brian Sullivan, MD, customer group, BSkyB, explained how his 8-year old son had forced him to delay the rollout of the satcaster’s new EPG.

Sullivan told a press event hosted by NDS that he had found his son, Ray, crying in front of the television because he was no longer able to find his favourite channel.

“It was at that point we went back into the office and cancelled the launch, not because of 3,000 customers testing it for six months, not because of hard core testing in a scientific environment, we cancelled the launch because my kid was crying. That’s absolutely the right reason to do it because if we failed one person that was going to have such a bad experience that it would bring them to tears then it was wrong and we had to figure out why.” With the problem resolved the new EPG was released three months later and Sullivan said it had been a spectacular success.

Sky’s new EPG was introduced nine months ago to owners of the Sky+ HD receiver, replacing a guide that on the face of it had remained unchanged for the first ten years of Sky Digital’s existence. In reality, Sullivan told his audience, the EPG had constantly evolved through the introduction of additional services such as the PVR and interactive content. “If you were somebody sitting in the home it never changed from day to day over 30,000 days across ten years. The main reason we did that was that the single aspect of our service when we were no longer in the home is how they accessed the content they wanted. We had success and we held onto it for a decade while everyone else including these guys [NDS] kept pushing us to change it.”

Sullivan said he hoped the new guide would last for another decade, adding customisation, but in a dynamic environment that keeps it simple to assist customer understanding.