Opinions Don’t Belong in Your EPG Summaries


In the middle of April 2014, a major entertainment metadata supplier hosted an online seminar, in which they discussed their business and the status of the industry overall.

During this forum, a product representative from the aforementioned company made a bold proclamation, which was later trumpeted online: “We re-write descriptions from a neutral perspective.”

Certainly an important aspect of television metadata is a program’s summary; a non-biased synopsis allows a viewer to discover what a show or movie is about without being unfairly influenced by a subjective writer or source, which can be all the more disorienting if one is unaware of the exact identity of the person who is editorializing. Is it wise to trust a nameless, faceless, anonymous individual to provide personal commentary on a movie or show? Furthermore, is it a decent business practice to share this partial data with consumers who aren’t necessarily looking for cinema reviews?

Thus, the “neutral perspective” announcement was more than a bit eyebrow-raising, as several examples from this particular data supplier that have been uncovered could hardly be labeled “neutral.” In fact, many seem to be downright insulting and highly critical of the screenplays and films, which seemingly vacates the territory of a “description” and transforms into an uncalled-for analysis.

Here is just a small sampling of the “neutral” descriptions offered by this metadata provider. You’ll be surprised.

The Phantom of the Opera

Unfulfilling adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical about a disfigured composer (Gerard Butler) and his unrequited love for an opera singer (Emmy Rossum). Impressive visuals, lackluster performances.

The Healer

When she discovers that her son has terminal cancer, a Canadian mother (Miranda Otto) seeks help from a faith healer in Poland. Weak screenplay, strong performances.

Excuse my Dust

Red Skelton as a man trying to invent the automobile. Good final chase.

A Guy Thing

A groom-to-be (Jason Lee) can't remember if he was unfaithful at his bachelor party. A romantic comedy that's neither romantic nor funny

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

After moving, a teen (Lindsay Lohan) tries to regain her popularity. Innocuous Disney fluff.

Pulse (2006)

Hogwash about spirits in computers who find a way to cross back into the world of the living. 

The Wedding Date

Lazy, patchwork romantic comedy about a single New Yorker (Debra Messing) who hires a polished male escort (Dermot Mulroney) for her sister's nuptials in England.


A mysterious superagent (John Travolta) enlists a cyberhacker (Hugh Jackman) to help him steal billions in government funds. A disappointing thriller that forsakes substance for style.

Mission: Impossible II

IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) takes on a renegade spy who's stolen a deadly high-tech virus. John Woo directed this convoluted sequel with spectacular action. 

As revealed, there is a clear trend of summaries here that are anything but “neutral,” making their statement seemingly a laughable falsehood. Should viewers be exposed to this sort of prejudice on their on-screen guides and apps? If your answer to that question is ‘no,’ you might want to give serious consideration to the supplier of your television, film and entertainment data.

Trust FYI Television, an entertainment and TV listings metadata provider that conclusively and definitively offers program synopses that are truly objective, and not filled with worthless opinions that only blemish the EPG and agitate viewers.

Click below to learn more.

Author: Brian Cameron

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