From January 1 2013, Foxtel will trim its range of movie packages down to one all-you-can-eat movies bundle (with a generous side serving of HBO content). What does that mean for existing subscribers? We've got the lowdown.
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Currently, Foxtel offers two separate movie package bundles, Movie Network and Showtime Movies. In practice, you can't easily sign up to a plan that doesn't include both of them these days, but that hasn't always been the case in the past. Regardless, the joint venture companies that operate those two channel groups have now been wound down, and Foxtel plans to negotiate directly with movie suppliers in the future and run its own network of channels.
Movies will now be presented on a new bundle of channels called Foxtel Movies & Premium Drama. These channels, many of them based around a specific genre, will be included in the bundle:
|401||Premiere||New release titles|
|402||Premiere+2||Premiere on a 2-hour delay|
|403||showcase||HBO content plus other drama and docos|
|404||showcase||showcase on a 2-hour delay|
|410||Masterpiece||Classics, independent and Australian|
|430||World Movies||International cinema|
Customers with an HD subscription will get HD versions of the new movie channels and showcase (but not World Movies). The new HBO-centric showcase channel is particularly interesting; I suspect this will see some HBO shows seen on other Foxtel channels lose the first local showing of those programs.
So what happens to your subscription on January 1? 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.
Foxtel also says it will expand the range of "on demand" movies available for immediate streaming to customers. Foxtel didn't provide an exact number, but says "hundreds" of titles will be included.
The change won't have any immediate impact on the Foxtel Go iPad app, since no movie channels are included in that package. (I'd expect Foxtel to introduce those eventually, but rights for streaming to devices will likely have to be negotiated separately.)
Like the sound of the new offering? Preferred the old approach? Tell us in the comments.