Iranian Summer Time changes – aaargh!

Pub quiz question for you. How many hours is Iran ahead of the UK? Multi-choice: 2.5 hours, 3.5 hours, or 4.5 hours? (yes – the answer really does include a half hour!)  Would it surprise you to know that all 3 are correct depending on the time of year? This is because Iran doesn’t change its clocks at the same time as the UK (or with most of the rest of the world for that matter).

Pretty weird huh! Now imagine that you run a satellite frequency that has an Iranian channel on it for most of the day, and a Turkish channel on it for the rest of the day . . . do you see where I’m going with this?

Yep – at SAT-7 we do just this, and when the clocks change in Iran, they don’t change in Turkey . . . something has got to give! Either viewers in Iran have to have their programmes at a different time of day, or viewers in Turkey do – at least for the 7 weeks of the year when they are out of sync!

To make matters even worse, most of our Live shows for the Iranian channel are broadcast from the UK (there is a big Iranian Christian population there and doing these shows in Iran is impossible due to the political situation). But guess what – we can’t get our producers to do the live shows at different times for 7 weeks of the year as it messes their schedules too much and causes real problems due to the heavy traffic in London an hour later in the day. So, even though we want to keep the shows at the right time for viewers in Iran we can’t do that for the Live Shows!?

Iranian Summer Time ends tonight (Iranians get an extra hour in bed tonight!) So, here’s what we are doing about it . . .

Resolution & Impact on Viewers

  1. SAT-7 TURK have agreed that viewers in Turkey will see their programmes an hour earlier for the next 6 weeks until Summer Time ends in Europe (at which point their programmes return to their normal viewing time).
  2. An extra hour gets added to the SAT-7 PARS schedule tonight (as they have to broadcast 25 hours of content today). This means that SAT-7 PARS programmes will show for viewers in Iran at the usual time tomorrow with the exception of the live shows from the UK.
  3. Live Shows from the UK will be an hour earlier in the Schedule and for viewers in Iran (in order to remain at the same start time for UK presenters). Once British Summer Time ends, in 6 weeks, the SAT-7 PARS live show will return to the normal time for viewers.

Changes that our Scheduler(s) must make:

  • The SAT-7 TURK team need make no changes to the way they schedule (our Broadcasting System, BTS, will handle it that).
  • The SAT-7 PARS team need to provide an extra hour of programming to our Playout provider, STN, on the night of the change (as they have a 25 hour broadcast day that night). See figure 1 above.
  • The SAT-7 PARS team need to move the Live shows from the UK an hour earlier in the BTS schedule. See figure 2 below.
  • The SAT-7 PARS team need to move an hour of the Prime Time block (before the live) to follow the live. See figure 2 below.


In 6 weeks time, once British Summer Time ends:

  • The SAT-7 TURK team need make NO CHANGES to the way they schedule (the clock change will effectively move their programmes back to the right time).
  • The SAT-7 PARS team need to move the Live shows from the UK an hour later in the schedule (back to their normal time) so that the time of the Lives stays the same in the UK.
  • The SAT-7 PARS team needs to move the displaced hour of Prime time programming back before the live show.

We worked all this out today and made all the changes in the nick of time. Unsurprisingly I left the office with a bit of a headache – this stuff ain’t simple!

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