FOXTEL's Movie Packages Have Changed, And Nobody Is Happy

FOXTEL announced late last year that it would change its movie packages come January 1, and nobody took much notice at the time. The change has now happened, and customers are noticing fewer movie channels in their program guides. Cue FOXTEL rage. Here's what the changes mean and what you can do if you really hate it.

The long and short of the whole affair stems from the fact that the company that used to supply movies to FOXTEL's Movie Network and Showtime Movies channels has now folded, leaving FOXTEL to go it alone when supplying movies. The new channel offering is called Foxtel Movies & Premium Drama and it includes 11 channels. For those of you playing at home, that's less than the original movie offering in terms of raw number of channels.

Angus over at Lifehacker has a fairly succinct description of how it's affecting various package holders:

Existing customers who have both Movie Network and Showtime packages will transfer automatically to the new service on January 1 and won’t pay anything extra. Customers who only have one of the channels (a relatively small group, according to Foxtel) will receive a selection of the channels depending on their current package. This page details how the changes will work depending on the packages you have. If your current subscription doesn’t include any movie channels, you’ll have to pay extra to upgrade to a bundle that does.

World Movies, which is now included in the main bundle, was previously sold as a separate $10 a month option. That won’t be available to new subscribers from January 1, and is essentially a new free inclusion for existing two-movie bundle subscribers.

So how have customers responded to the change? Not well. Not well at all.

As angry mobs tend to do these days, FOXTEL customers have taken to Facebook to express their disappointment. Here's FOXTEL's plea for calm:

...and a sample of the 610 (so far) outraged people:

No wonder foxtel you had to con new subscribers with free 3 months if they joined before Xmas. But what a bunch of con artists you are selling them movie channels then taking them away...
— Elizabeth Aires

Hi Foxtel, I know you're disappointed that I and many others will now be cancelling our subsciption to your new and "improved" movie packages but we're not in the mood to be taken advantage of...
— Haley Kelleher

Unbelievable that we pay so much for a service that is not delivered. Such old movies advertised as new releases and repeats. How can this be allowed. So disappointed.
— Susan Watson Dyer

There's even a petition going around asking FOXTEL customers to sign a petition. It's only got 65 signatures so far so don't hold your breath on that one working. Furthermore, an internet petition isn't exactly going to bring the movie supplier that folded, back from the dead.

So what can you do about it if you're one of the outraged? Angus over at Lifehacker points out that it might not make much economic sense to cancel your whole service if you're still locked into a contract. If you're out of one, though, you have a bit more bargaining power. Either way, if you're upset it might just be worth calling FOXTEL and calmly expressing your disappointment to see what it can do for you. If all that doesn't work, you might even want to cancel your movie package altogether and download movies via another method like iTunes, Quickflix or BigPond Movies.

Are you mad about FOXTEL movies changing?


Comments

    I'm not really that upset by the new movie channels. Though I am thinking of cancelling Foxtel once my contract is up in July.

      I bought Foxtel 6 years ago.. I was happy with it then..however moved 100 kilometres north and lost 3 free to free to air channels and now lost 2 or 3 of the movie channels. On top of that, the main reason I bought the package I have which has now turned into $123 per month (I must look up the cost six years ago for for channels). If they show "HEAVEN CAN WAIT" one more time, I swear I will scream. What is it with Foxtel. REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT.............!!!!!!!!

      Last edited 21/03/13 11:56 pm

    I don't really notice the change in amount of channels to be honest. The quality of movies on offer yesterday was MUCH better than what the old pacakges were showing last year.

    Last year nearly all movie channels (apart from the showtime premier channel) would regularly show movies from 1970-1990. Yesterday, recovering from NYE I watched 4 movies in a row on the new Foxtel Comedy Movies channel which were all filmed in the last 10 years.

    If the quality of the movies remains higher than the old packages, I'm happy.

    I'm more disappointed that the HD movie channels in many instances aren't actually broadcasting HD movies.

    Like Comedy HD for instance.

      HD can be as low quality as 480p, and yet still be considered HD, however for most Aussies, Standard Definition is a lower quality form of HD, at a minimum of 720p (DVD quality) whereas FHD is 1080 (Bluray quality). Looks like Comedy HD could be showing at either 480, 570 or 720p.

        480p is DVD quality

    Oh the Mobs of Social Media, given many people something to do, when they have nothing better to do.

    I don't use Foxtel, and am not likely ever to. However is there a possibility that unhappy customers could get out of their contracts with an early termination fee due to Foxtel making a significant change to what is on offer? I am sure that I've heard that Telstra had to let people out of mobile phone contracts at no charge when they made a significant change...

    OR you could just use lifehacker's guide to setting up netflix in Australia and get rid of Foxtel completely.

    Wait, people still pay for this garbage? wow, pay TV hasn't been good since the late 90's...

      Documentaries, sport and current affairs are some good reasons to have pay TV these days.

    I'm thinking of cancelling my subscription - it's just getting too expensive and way too many ad breaks. They are also cutting junks of shows as do the free to air networks to fit in more commercials.

    Last edited 02/01/13 2:51 pm

      I've always wondered why people would pay for TV that still has ads, seems redundant to me.

        The problem is that TV shows are created assuming that ads are going to be played in the middle of them. Hour long TV shows in fact go for about 44 minutes; half-hour shows go for about 22 minutes.

        So, the question is, what does Foxtel display for the other 16 or 8 minutes respectively?

        They could just run shows back-to-back, but then you'd favourite shows would begin at 8:12pm, instead of 8:30, and the one after that at 8:59pm instead of 9:30. This clearly doesn't make much sense.

        They could just display a blank screen for 16 minutes an hour, but that's just confusing.

        They could play Foxtel promos, instead of actual paid advertising, but I see enough repeats of them as it is.

        Regardless, doesn't everyone have a PVR now and just fast-forwards through them anyway?

        Last edited 02/01/13 10:37 pm

          So the ads on Foxtel are for our convenience? That's awfully nice of Foxtel.

            I'm not pretending they're not making a boat-load of money off this -- it's certainly the best choice for Foxtel in terms of profit... But if you were to become Foxtel's CEO tomorrow, what would you do? Is there a better alternative?

          I cannot accept your rationalisation. I use AppleTV. A viewer can certainly see the obvious breaks intended for advertisements, especially in tv shows, but the point is that there is no advertising and the shows run quite smoothly. My understanding is that there was no advertising on cable tv when it was first launched in Australia. FoxTel uses advertising for revenue. There is no other reason.

            Right, but that's completely different - you're playing that on-demand -- it's not broadcast TV. Whilst you may decide to watch your show at 6:12pm, it doesn't mean that every other person in Australia who wants to watch it also must watch it at 6:12pm.

            We're talking about things being scheduled here.

        +1

        Like you, I refuse to pay to watch advertisements.

    "a petition going around asking FOXTEL customers to sign a petition"...

    it's Incepetition

    How can people even pay so much to watch TV with so much commercial? I can understand that free to air tv can have commercials, but why would you pay to watch TV and then on top of that have to watch commercials still? Today there are so many other ways to watch nice movies, documentaries and different shows from all around the world. You just need an internet connection, pay 6 dollars/month to get an access to VPNs from all around the world, connect a computer to your TV (like a Mac mini) and you have access to many Replays from different big channels in the US, UK, France etc... Why would I give my money to Foxtel! It is such a ripoff!

    If your on a contract and the have changed what you signed up for isn't that a breach of contract?

      Not if the contract stipulates that the offerings can be changed and you can bet pounds to peanuts that is what it stipulates.

    The part I don't understand is if you only have one of the packages and you want to subscribe to the other it's another $16 for only 2 extra channels :-S

    Just happy I didnt sign up to their Xmas offer. If they have the rights to change what channels you get on a contract you signed, then I'm definitely NEVER getting Foxtel. Why would I want to watch ands and get screwed around with the channels I signed up for at their every whim?

    I changed my plan last year to ditch the movie channels. I found Apple TV more convenient for movies.

    How can people be upset they now have a thriller/crime channel!

    I just can't wait for the day that Foxtel goes down hill. Every time I've been at a friends house, it's just repeats beyond repeats, and MTV is horrible, not to mention 3/4 of the other channels.

      Yeah well they don't really control the content on most of the channels whose programming they license so your comment is moot.

    How quaint.. people still watch Foxtel... ;-)

    I love the changes... Before it was a mess, Unless you kept up with the ads and the TV guide and the foxtel preview e-newsletters religiously you would never know what was going to be on or where!

    You mean pay and pay and pay TV with Ads. As usual, here in Australia, we're being pantsed and being asked to bend over for the privilege. I hope they go broke.

    Last edited 04/01/13 9:52 pm

    As a foxtel contractor I have to say, I was wondering when this would appear. I would be annoyed if I was paying for the movie channels to be honest, even I noticed the sudden drop off of channels regardless of the content on them.

    The way they have the packages laid out as well is a bit weird it should just be one giant package, especially if they are going to label one of the Twilight movies as Sci-Fi (that made me giggle on seeing it.)

    As far as I can see it doesnt really matter how many channels there are - you can still only watch one at a time!

      Thanks captain obvious. Whats even more obvious is the fact that the issue isn't how many channels you can watch at a time, but the reduction in choices given to you after you signed a contract agreeing to certain packages.

    Optus let me cancel yesterday and I was on the second day of my billing cycle!!! I increased my download plan as well and replaced the Optus/Foxtel box with my own media centre (Openelec.tv, Kudos to Gizmodo users for this recommendation).

    Optus don't normally cancel until the billing cycle has finished.

    To me it seems like you can pay for a premium service with no ads, or get it free with ads (like YouTube). Paying for extra channels and having ads at the same time seems crazy, especially since we have the interwebs.

    In terms of the change to foxtel, I don't care cos I've never been a subscriber, but if you like their service you're going to pay for it regardless. Don't complain. Or just opt out.

    FOXTEL has proven itself to be a dishonest provider. When I first signed up, there were no ads - now there are ads galore. I hardly ever watch things "live" anymore - I record shows and then I can fast forward through the ads.

    The latest insult to Foxtel customers is the change to movie channels offering 2 less channels than previously and Foxtel is trying to sell this as an improvement in its services to customers.

    I wish for the umpteenth time there was competition in the Australian market so that I could find a more honest company.

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