Foxtel Still Doesn't Understand The Meaning Of The Word 'Fast'

In 2012 we saw the ABC redefine the very meaning of the phrase "fast track" when it came to content, by bringing the new season of Doctor Who from the BBC in the UK to our shores within the space of an hour. Despite incredible feats like this, Foxtel -- Australia's premier pay TV network -- still doesn't seem to get it, forcing Aussies to wait seven days before being able to see the latest season of Top Gear UK.

Season 19 of Top Gear is set to air on BBC in the UK on 29 January (local time). Once the episode is finished, all you'll have to do is wait two hours and then download it illegally from your favourite salubrious internet venue. One hour later and you will have had your fill of three blokes mucking about with cars, meaning that the whole affair will be complete within roughly three hours.

A whole 141 hours later on February 3, Foxtel catches up, airing the "fast-tracked" season premiere of Top Gear on BBC Knowledge, complete with ads slotted in at obnoxious junctures. (The BBC is like our ABC so its shows aren't often shot with ad breaks in mind)

Come on, Foxtel.

I'm willing to concede that a likely reason for the delay is most likely because of where Foxtel wants Top Gear in the schedule. The show will air at 7:30pm AEDT on a Sunday, rather than mid-week where it's likely to attract fewer viewers. But still, if Foxtel really want to claim to be "fast-tracking" the series for the hardcore fans, it could offer the episodes up early online or via the excellent Foxtel Go app for iPad (and soon everything else).

The ABC took that particular road with Doctor Who: leave the TV schedule intact but air the same episode via iView one week in advance, making Sunday mornings glorious. I'd love to sit down on a Sunday morning once again with tea and toast to watch great content legally, but instead I'll have to wait while my friends, who prefer getting content illegally, spend 141 hours talking about the episode they just downloaded.

Get it together, Foxtel.



    Agree it's a pain (I want my Jezza non-PC fix asap too)

    But I suspect it's BBC-Worldwide's doing not Foxtel's. The BBC's corporate division who arrange syndications aren't exactly renowned for their business prowess. And Foxtel would probably far rather have shown it on 8 rather than the backwater that is BBC Knowledge given the show is a ratings winner here as in the UK.

      You could be on to something there, FX aired The Walking Dead 33 hours after it aired in the US, which way faster then Top Gear but still not as fast as downloading.

      Dr Who is a BBC show. If Aunty can do the deal, why can't Foxtel (which, people would have you believe, should hold the superior business acumen)?

        One of the reasons it may take longer, is because of the way the BBC licences the music on TG. I know they only have limited licences for the music they use (which is why the music isn't the same when it comes out on video) so it could always be something like this

    Not only do you get it quicker if you download it illegally, but you get an extra 10-15 minutes worth in the BBC version of the show than you do in the international version of the show.

      Pretty much this. It's like being a purist - I must have it in how it was shown in the UK. Royalty free music, having the news cut out, etc just isn't the same.

        On the one hand I could understand the news being cut out when it was years old. But now that it's only a week later it's still relevant, they just want the ability to cram more ads in.

    Just download it from like everyone else does.

    Yet another reason why Pay TV is a waste of everyones time... save your money, use the internet...

    I've never watched Foxtel, but according to this article they have ads? I thought the point of paying for paytv was there are no ads?

      Pay TV not only has ads, the majority of them are for shows that wouldn't be included in the package the channel you are watching is on, trying to entice you to upgrade your package.

      Oh and they still yell at you like free to air ads.

      Oh they have ads. They have A LOT of ads.

      When we first got Foxtel there were maybe one or two ads shown. This was maybe about 6 years ago. Now, ads every 10 minutes. Usually 5 life insurance ads in a row. I FUCKING HATE LIFE INSURANCE ADS.



      Seriously, I wish we had those Korean (I think) life insurance commercials that tell a story.

    I still don't understand the legal aspect of downloading TV shows.

    What law is being broken. The show is screened publicly on a network that does not require a subscription (that being the BBC). There is no disclosure on the program (like there is with US sports) that the program is not to be rebroadcast or made available for redistribution in any way.

    I'm simply curious for someone to tell me what law I am breaking by downloading a publicly broadcast program from another country for my own personal use?
    To my mind its like buying a book, then lending (or giving) the book to others to read.

      I was about to comment on the same thing. I don't understand how downloading free-to-air TV is deemed illegal. While I could wait until whenever Channel 9 screens it, and watch it free, I could also download it and watch it when I want without the ads.

      If I watched on Channel 9, I'd turn over during the ads anyway.

        Ads are what make the TV free. Advertising is the main source of revenue for TV. Who do you think pays for the show to be made. The assumption is, most people won't turn over during the ads, and therefore will see them providing a very wide audience to accept the advertising.

        I am okay sitting through ads, if the TV show was available now. Why aren't more shows available on Foxtel Go. And why don't the other major Australian Networks (9, 7, 10) have iPlayer, go, iView services easily available.

      Dave, while the BBC doesn't require a subscription per-se, UK TV works differently from ours as each device that accesses the broadcast TV spectrum requires a license in order to allow you to watch. I'm not sure how it's done, dongle / smart card, but anyone who watches TV subsidises the BBC to produce material.

      To say that the BBC is a "free-to-air" [publicly broadcast] operation as you were alluding to is not technically correct.


        Correct Malcolm, BBC is subsidised by the UK TV license fee (

        There is no "smart technology" to enable TVs in the UK. They simply have a list of all addresses in the UK. If the fee hasn't been paid for your address, you get an enforcement officer pay you a visit to check you don't own any TVs.

      I download, but the BBC show is licenced to be shown in the UK, and everyone with a TV in the UK pays a TV tax which funds the BBC. The BBC sell their offerings to those outside of the UK as they haven't paid the tax which gives you the BBC.

      It is a break of the copyright act
      The difference is that you have purchased a book and therefore the ownership of that physical copy is yours. When you watch a TV show you are viewing a service provided, funded by your time watching ads. You don't own anything.

      The BBC does require a subscription. iplayer is not available outside of the UK, so it is not a publicly available network.

      Not that I expect you to stop downloading as I'm sure you'll find some other excuse to justify your behaviour. But you did ask.

      I pay for a full Foxtel Platinum HD subscription, and a BBC Worldwide iPlayer subscription for the iPad.
      And I'll download Top Gear from Final Gear like everyone else. Legal? No idea, but as far as I'm concerned, I've paid to see it anyway.

    What is wrong with the lot of you? Who cares when it airs overseas? TG is my favourite TV show but I will happily wait for Channel 9 to put it to air whenever they get around to it. It will still be new to me and that is really all I care about. I don't even see that it would be worthwhile to seek out here at work and watch it early, although I am sure I could if I wanted to.

    You have to understand that the ABC don't have to worry about ratings, so they can do whatever they want with their programmes. OTOH, commercial TV operations like Foxtel do have to worry because it is directly tied to their advertising revenue.

      I'd possibly watch more Australian free to air if the ads were normalised at the same volume as the show they interrupt. I'm not getting a headache due to ads yelling at me just to keep Channel 9 afloat.

        In the US, they recently passed the CALM Act (Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation Act). Can we do something to prompt the law makers to do the same here?

          That has to be one of the best acronyms ever! :) I have 'volume normalization' built into my amp thankfully, but the downside is it destroys dynamic range when switched on. Not that there's usually much dynamic range to our TV audio tracks to begin with (thanks to crappy over-compressed 2.0 audio tracks).

        +1 million!

        I rarely notice it because I keep the volume pretty low anyway. Far more noticeable to me is the volume difference between channels. But it's not the networks that are responsible, it is the ad makers who want to make sure you get their message loud and clear.

      whats wrong with you wanting to watch at the whims of some programming director who can take it off the air or move it if some sports thing is broadcast at the same time? inconvenience to the fans is secondary to the $ad money, which is why i dont pay for foxtel - why would i PAY for ads?

        What's the problem with any of that? You are at the whim of BBC programmers as to when it is first broadcast, so you're no better off. My question to you is why would you spend money on bandwidth when you can watch it for free on Nine?

          no ads. watch it when i choose. unedited (for aus tv that is).

      As I stated above - part of it is impatience but for me it's mostly watching it how it was intended to be shown. Nine absolutely butchers it - not to mention how much they manage to draw the episodes out.

        Why would you be impatient about it, it is just a TV show. I don't even bother to record shows when I am not going to be at home any more; everything gets repeated so much I am happy to wait for a re-run if necessary. And I work in the damned industry.

        You can't have it both ways, either they butcher it or they draw it out. Nine show every second of every episode by scheduling it over 90 minutes, unlike SBS who used to shoehorn it into a one hour slot by editing out bits they didn't think anyone would be interesed in. One time that included the Stig's lap in an HSV Clubsport, like no-one in Australia would care about that.

          That's why I said "part of it is impatience" - I'm excited for a new show, what's wrong in that? Top Gear is the only show I download within a day of it being aired as I've been doing that since around season 6 when it would be delayed like crazy; more out of habit now than anything else.

          Personally though, I'd rather watch a single hour long show than have it broken up by another half hour of ads. To each their own.

    The fast tracking of stuff with ongoing storylines makes sense with all the spoilers out there thesedays.
    I even switch channels nowadays when an ad for a show i DO watch comes on, as no doubt they will spoil something in the ads.

    Top Gear though? (spoiler, in the latest episode, they drive fast cars)

      It really annoys me that the ads will always lay out the twist, which if you watched the episode you would have to work out toward the end. That and they always seem to overlay really inapropriate pop music that doesn't go with the show at all.

    love top gear, have watched every episode since Clarkson took it over. Alas I could only watch 3 episodes on Aus TV, be it Fox or 9. The atrocities they commit to the original program, as Budgie said, be it music changes, news cuts, or general funniness ruin it completely. Internets for me thanks.

    Well at least 7 days to see it in HD is better than waiting 2 months for channel 9 to air it, in low bit SD and having an ad break every 5 minuets. Still, Australian TV FTA or Foxtel still don't get it.

    The Walking Dead in 33 hours is the benchmark for "fast-tracked" to Foxtel and should be used as a standard not the exception.

    I wish they would add a explanation for fast tacked in X hours so say if it was due to Foxtel not wanting to pay X or the broadcaster in the US/UK not allowing it to broadcast sooner.

      Showcase has a number of shows that are broadcast only a couple hours after airing in the states. That would be the benchmark.

    Thank god I'm not the only one thinking this. I thought the whole concept of a show being "fast tracked" seemed quite stupid when they show is being aired over 48 hours after it airs overseas. As mentioned people can get the show within three hours of it being aired so why can't a large television station manage to get it on air in under 48 hours, they should be able to air it the next day without a problem.

    The reason people hate waiting for shows on Foxtel or Channel 9 is that they have to wait for it to come out, watch a shortened version of the show and put up with ads when the show is not aired with them originally. On top of all that, quite often is the case that these stations will not air the show consistently meaning they will throw in huge gaps for no reason.

    When i went to download the season 2 premiere of Girls last week i found that Foxtel had already aired it. This was only a couple of hours after HBO aired it in the US

    This article seems more of an Anti Foxtel rant than a fast tracking tv rant.
    The TEN Network has confirmed they will fast-track new episodes of ... Hawaii Five-O
    Say Aloha to the season return of Hawaii Five-0, 9.30 Monday January 28 on TEN
    Series 3 episode 13 just out for downloading at 1.56 pm.

    Amazing that there are still 4 people who care about that trollop from BBC.

      Not sure if trolling or stupid. It's actually the most watched t.v. Show in the world.

        It's actually the most watched t.v. Show... IN THE WOOORLD.


    I'm pretty sure this is a BBC Worldwide thing. It's delayed by a week in America as well.

    You should also realise that BBC Knowledge plays the lowest amount of ads I've seen on Foxtel. Sometimes they play Top Gear with no ads. It's actually a pretty good channel.

    I can understand the desire to be on par with the UK and US when it comes to drama, given I don't want to see spoilers (& cliff-hangers as seen in shows like Game of Thrones, usually compel me to download shows ASAP). But for a show like Top Gear, I'd happily wait a week. However, given Foxtel is destroying the show by screening it in SD, and inserting ads (why are there ads during shows on PAYTV anyway?) downloading it sounds like the way to go regardless.

      There is an HD BBC Knowledge channel.

    - Quicker
    - No Ads
    - HD
    - DRM Free

    - Slower
    - Ads Galore
    - Paid Subscription
    - HD costs more
    - DRM++

    On the flip side I would happily pay for HD, DRM free at a fair price direct from the producers.

    I haven't had Foxtel for many years, but what irks me about the Freeview channels is they can at random just drop a series, move it to another time slot, get out of sync with episodes and usually only screen in SD. Given these annoyances and most people have decent enough internet, why wouldn't you download whatever shows you wanted?

    Last edited 21/01/13 4:02 pm

    Luke, BBC Knowledge is owned by the BBC (along with all the BBC channels) and licensed to Foxtel. I understand the sentiment, but the problem lies with the Beeb. While Foxtel has made a meal of several things lately, I don't think this is one.

    I would pay $100 - $150 a month for a service where I can either stream or DL TV / Movies HD ad free.
    Until then i find it hard to justify buying blurays / watching tv....I couldn't believe it that my partner found a bluray of 20min YES 20min of unskippable ads / pirate messages...

    Ao you have to wait seven whole days to watch a foreign TV show, huh?

    Gosh, sounds absolutely crippling. My heart goes out to you.

    BBC Knowledge is run by BBC Worldwide Australia. Foxtel have no control over what's shown on the channels here. Foxtel simply supplies the infrastructure that the channels are delivered on.

    Foxtel have been doing an amazing job with fast tracking content from the US as of late. All the big shows on the 'Foxtel owned and operated' channels have been played express, within hours of their US broadcast.

    What's Top Gear UK?

    I think you mean Top Gear. Unless there's also a 'Doctor Who UK', a 'How I Met Your Mother US', etc etc.

      Are there other worldwide versions of those shows? Nope?
      Would be more like saying "The Office UK" or "Wilfred AU".

        No, if Top Gear originated in the UK, it's Top Gear. If there's an Australian version, by all means call it Top Gear Australia. But There's no such thing as Top Gear UK. Do they introduce it as such? 'Welcome to Top Gear UK!'?

          That logic works only if you know where Top Gear originated

          Calm down. People are going to call it Top Gear UK because that's how you'll find it online to download, and as this thread suggests most here download it :)

    FU Foxtel, charging for TV and you still make it full of advertisements, that's why you'll never have me back as a customer

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