Foxtel introduced its new movie channel lineup yesterday, and the reduction in the number of overall channels has sparked an outcry on social media. Some customers are threatening to cancel their pay TV as a result, but whether that makes sense depends on your contract.
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We reported on the changed movie lineup in early December, but the relatively brief period between Foxtel's announcement and the January 1 start for the new Movies & Premium Drama meant it apparently caught many customers by surprise. Foxtel's Facebook page was swamped with comments attacking the new lineup. This one was fairly typical:
Seriously unhappy about losing the Movie channels! 7 chanels gone and only two in return, 3300+ hours less content! And you are still charging the same...
Many customers suggested they would either downgrade their package or cancel Foxtel altogether as a result of the new arrangements. Whether that makes sense depends on the specific contract you have. If you're signed up to a 12-month or 24-month contract at a specific price, then cancelling doesn't make economic sense, as you'll have to pay out the deal anyway. If you're no longer on contract, you have much more flexibility.
Either way, it can't hurt to contact Foxtel and try and score a better deal if you're unhappy with the new offering. It's expensive to sign up new customers, so Foxtel has an incentive to try and keep customers happy. It won't be able to roll you back to the previous packages, but staff may be able to throw in other sweeteners, or agree to let you downgrade to a cheaper package. Remember the basics of getting what you want from customer service: be polite, not angry. Foxtel's call centre staff didn't decide to change the movie lineup, and yelling at them is very unlikely to get you a better deal.
If you do ditch Foxtel's movie offerings, what are your alternatives if you're a heavy movie watcher? Leaving aside torrenting movies (cheap but entirely illegal), you have two basic choices: using a streaming service, or switching to DVDs which you either buy or rent (yes, that sill happens). In the streaming space, your main choices in Australia are Quickflix, Fetch TV, BigPond Movies, iTunes and CASPA. None are an exact equivalent of Foxtel, and all rely on having a decent internet connection and a generous data allowance (though Fetch TV and BigPond Movies have options which don't count against your monthly total).
Considering switching from Foxtel because of the movies switch? Tell us why in the comments.