Beginner Question about Data Sources for Scheduling

Beginner Question about Data Sources for Scheduling

Postby mburke05 » Sat May 07, 2016 11:27 am

Hello,

I'm working on a project for school (comp. sci, major) and I had a couple of questions on the data sources that you guys received from GraceNote and that companies like rovi (are there any others?) source their information from.

Are they simply compiling information by scraping information from all of the individual websites of the major cable stations? Or is there a aggregated feed that only they have access to that they pay for and then restream with their API.

Second, is there any of these API services that have access to TV historical schedules (for my project I want to analyse things like what lead actor was most frequently used in a program in 1995, how were different dayparts used by different actors, etc.)

Thirdly, I have seen it mentioned that there are inter-day updates (so they'll change their schedules on the fly), how often is this done, and how far in advance is this given notice for? I.e. if I was fetching a schedule from Comedy Central for today, is that 100% certain? Or is that subject to change?

Thanks so much in advance for answering my questions, I am very grateful for the service you guys provide and look forward to diving in after I've got some more information.
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Re: Beginner Question about Data Sources for Scheduling

Postby rmeden » Sat May 07, 2016 11:45 am

I can't speak about Rovi, but I assume it's similar.

The networks and stations provide a feed to data to Gracenote, in various formats (sometimes just a spreadsheet). Gracenote converts it to a standard format, adds editorial content (different description lengths for example) combines it and redistributes it. I doubt they use any scrapers, but if they do it with permission.

Often the data you see on a network or station web page as *after* Gracenote does their magic. When we started this years ago, we learned that a different department at a station often buys the data back because of the value Gracenote adds.

We do not have historical data ( it's actually not allowed by our contract), but Gracenote does have a historical data service. I can put you in touch with contacts at Gracenote if you wish. The cost may depend on what the research is, how it's used, etc.

I'm not sure how frequent mid-day updates are, but (RobertK may know), but the schedule is never 100% certain. Things like a sporting even going long, national emergency, etc are seldom if ever scheduled.

BTW... XMLTV started as a university project!
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Re: Beginner Question about Data Sources for Scheduling

Postby mburke05 » Sat May 07, 2016 12:50 pm

That's so neat! Thanks very much for the information. I'll keep you guys posted on any progress I make.

I would love the contact information for somebody from GraceNote in the historical sourcing dept. That would be great.

As far as an update to a schedule in the event of a national emergency or a sporting event running over time-wise, would that be reflected somehow in the feed that is sent out by your / TV guide / etc's listing? How is that handled on your end?
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Re: Beginner Question about Data Sources for Scheduling

Postby rkulagow » Sat May 07, 2016 1:10 pm

As far as an update to a schedule in the event of a national emergency or a sporting event running over time-wise, would that be reflected somehow in the feed that is sent out by your / TV guide / etc's listing? How is that handled on your end?


For the JSON service, Gracenote has multiple updates per day, which we take advantage of.

There is a JSON service that allows a client to query "Is this sporting event still on?" If yes, and it's past the end time, then it's up to the client to extend the recording.

Events that run long _do not_ cause a server-side schedule update; too many affiliates do too many things; some push the schedule back, some join whatever was being broadcast "in progress".

Finally, the last time we had a last-minute schedule update was during the Sandy Hook shooting. Either American Dad or Family Guy on FOX was going to broadcast something which was going to be in bad taste given the school shooting, so it was pulled off the schedule by Fox, and Tribune needed to create a new schedule.
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