Foxtel's price increase - less for more

21 Oct 09 03:03PM EST
Post by Alan Dooley
Five years ago I broached the subject of subscribing to Foxtel Pay TV, primarily so I could watch (even) more sport. While my love of English football isn’t shared by everyone in my household, the “Digital Basic” package included UK TV and the Lifestyle channel. I'm not sure I ever would have got sign-off on this extra household expense without the promise of Eastenders and Coronation Street to offset my late night Premier League viewing.

This month Foxtel wrote to me about changes — my bill for Digital Basic will increase by $2 per month. While that's unwelcome news, what's worse is that some channels are being taken away. The package will no longer include UK TV.

I don't like being told I'll have to pay more money each month but I understand that sometimes it's a commercial reality. What I object to is paying more money to receive less. I haven’t been asked which channels I’d be willing to lose, just that some will be taken away and I’ll have to pay more money.

To “build my own” package with both the Sports and Drama & Lifestyle (which includes UK TV) channels, I'd need to pay an extra $18 per month, adding 32% to my bill. That’s $216 extra per year. Otherwise, I could opt for an “IQ Value Pack” for $88 per month, including all the channels I’d like and a Foxtel IQ hard disc recorder. But I already have a hard disc DVD recorder, and I don’t want to pay 57% more than I’m currently paying each month to get Foxtel’s.

Foxtel says customers staying on their current packaging will receive, like all subscribers, a significant increase in value including new channels, more interactive applications, enhanced navigation features and a fully refreshed EPG. The changes are all part of its “Next Generation” of television services which include “a range of brand new, specialised channels, additional High Definition channels, and a legal broadband download service - Foxtel Download. A spokesperson said “a raft of exciting new Foxtel Active features will enhance our customers' overall television experience and assist them with finding and recording the shows that they want to watch, when they want to watch them. There are also more packages to choose from so that all customers can find a package that suits their personal viewing needs”.

But to me these changes are a real annoyance, to the point where I'm not sure if I'll continue the subscription. A friend told me there’s even an ISP offering live Premier League soccer via internet streaming (and yes, it's legal).

The vast majority of existing Foxtel customers are about to start paying more to watch TV. If you’re a Foxtel customer, do you think these changes are fair?

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