Unraveling the Mysteries of TV Metadata

Many people are under the impression that cable operators, satellite companies and telecoms are responsible for developing the TV listings and schedules that display and convey all of their favorite information in their on-screen guides. They would be surprised to learn that this isn’t the case, as those businesses actually purchase and license that sort of data from others, as do newspapers and mobile apps.

Over the years, FYI Television has transformed the methodology behind carefully crafting and constructing television and entertainment metadata into a finely tuned art, which is then viewed by millions of interested eyes each day. Here’s an inside look at the highly demanding process.

Schedule Arrival

Every day, television networks and stations from all across the globe digitally submit their scheduling information, which generally features air dates and times, show, movie and episode titles, ratings, program lengths, actors, synopses and more, to FYI’s Dallas-Fort Worth headquarters in a variety of different file formats, often PDFs, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and an assortment of text documents. 

These schedules are then systematically sorted, classified and redistributed to squads of skilled individuals who must utilize their technical prowess to interpret them. 

On occasion, additional information is found through thorough and extensive Internet research.


Talented teams of editors, each of whom has been assigned a collection of stations, pore over the schedules and input the data into FYI’s customized software for proper organization. As each station’s listing grid is arranged uniquely, analysis can be required. Programs are assigned attributes such as labels (new, repeat, HD, etc.), genres,  categories (Western, News, Sci-Fi), seasons/series and episode numbers for further optimization. 

As an airing time could be canceled or altered at the drop of a hat, it is paramount that editors keep up regular communication with their contacts to verify everything.


A separate crew, comprised exclusively of dedicated writers, ensures that each title receives multiple summaries of varying lengths based upon the acquired information. All summaries are scribed in-house with a neutral, fact-based tone to denote impartiality.

Many networks send descriptions that are either incredibly verbose, or, just the opposite, too concise. It takes more than a modicum of moxie to prepare a synopsis that perfectly encapsulates what occurs in a film, show or special.

Another devoted unit works on illuminating biographies for celebrities and cast members, which is exactly the kind of information people seek on their second-screens.

Image and Media Content

A group of committed media experts acquires a vast array of images – showcards, promotional artwork, official logos, episodic stills, celebrities and more – to reinforce, enrich and strengthen the information.

These images are deftly shaped, sized and catalogued.


When TV listings metadata is requested by a client, it’s compiled accordingly and sent out all over the world for display via television screens, mobile apps, newspapers, computer monitors, specialized files and more – in just about any sort of personalized way imaginable!

The data can be easily assembled due to persistent program IDs, which allow everything to be interconnected.

Viewers are then able to successfully discover what’s on, who’s responsible and how they became involved.

FYI Television’s mechanisms for metadata creation and structuring are truly unparalleled. 


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