Paul Budde dumps Foxtel


blog Welcome to the IPTV club, Paul Budde. The well-known Australian telecommunications analyst revealed on his blog this morning that his household recently terminated its Foxtel service. Budde writes (we recommend you click here for the full blog post):

“After a year of procrastination and 14 years of using the Foxtel (and Austar) service we have decided to cut the cord … we had started to use the digital ABC and SBS channels more and more – in particular I enjoy the increase in historical documentaries. At the last European Football Championship Foxtel forced me to pay yet another fee on top of my already hefty subscription, and I found out that I could actually see the games on the Internet, and I connected the laptop to the plasma screen … with smart TV access via our DVR we now have access to the Quickflix movie database, which is many times larger than the limited, mainly C-rated, movie choice provided by Foxtel.”

To people in my generation (basically the older part of Generation Y) and younger, signing up for Foxtel is anathema unless you really need the sport. I don’t really know anyone my age who has ever signed up for a Foxtel subscription. However, everyone I know watches ABC iview, and many people also have Internet subscriptions to online services such as Crunchyroll (for anime), GomTV (for StarCraft II matches), Quickflix (for streaming movies) and so on. It just makes a lot more sense than the whole Foxtel system.

Image credit: Volker Stock, royalty free


  1. And herein lies (part of) the agenda, explaining just why the NBN hatred, from some parts of the media!

  2. I cut the cord with Foxtel years ago, their inability to sell me precise channels and instead forcing me to buy “bundles” of channels of shit I didn’t want _really_ pissed me off.

    Foxtel has been way to slow to learn and adapt from The Internet/iView/SBS Digital/Piracy.

    I hope the company burns a nasty death with shareholders waving pitchforks and torches braying for blood.

    *seriously disaffected ex-foxtel user*

    • this is exactly why i could never bring myself to sign up..

      that and they have just as many adverts as free to air.. seems pointless to pay if they do that..

      • Yep me too…. I actually asked them for a service without the sports channels, and they told me it wasn’t possible. Never looked at them since.

  3. As much as there’s rage against Foxtel, it has mainly come from folks whom have a geek, or technical background. Anyone else isn’t really going to care. To a point.

    Apple, Netflix, et-all are getting well into consumer product to make that a simple point-and-click model – the issue has always been getting data to the end user, in a capacity constrained market (like here, NZ, and so forth).

    However the NBN will see a fairly rapid change to how video can be delivered (both in quality and quantity).

    .. which in turn will put pressure on Foxtel (and more importantly it’s suppliers) to change business models, as many established (and new) players hit the market with services that will rival, and quite probably exceed.

    Probably one the single biggest advantages of the NBN is for it’s potential to shake-up the motion picture and music industries. Adapt, or die.

  4. Well done, Paul!
    We had Foxtel for over a year when it first appeared, but quickly found that an increasing number of advertisements and the endless repetition of programmes made it a poor investment, compared with the ABC, the SBS and a dual-channel programmableTV recorder. Apart from news, we now rarely watch anything directly off the air, especially here in Queensland. We and our neighbours generally retire about 9 pm and most of the good ABC and SBS programmes are far too late for direct viewing.
    Regarding “bundling”, we would quickly avoid any supermarket which forced us to buy a “bundled” trolley-load and we’d never pay Foxtel for channels that we didn’t want, either.
    Both Foxtel and FTA TV need to learn that they’re now competing (unsuccessfully) with the internet, digital games, books, conversation and heaps of other alternatives.

  5. Can we please get STUDIO and World Movies on FTA TV? I have no idea why SBS is giving people a reason to subscribe to FOXTEL.

  6. On the sporting front i’ve considered both Foxtel and their internet variants. Being a mad basketball fan I am able to watch every NBL (local basketball) and NBA (American Basketball) game live and on demand via subscription based high definition streaming services. No ads, no blackouts. Great quality content when I want to watch it on the devices I want to watch it via.

    Foxtel, who owns the NBA rights in this country, plays 2 or 3 games a week via ESPN, meaning i’d need to sign up to a base package + premium sports just to get access to it. While the online NBA streaming service isn’t cheap it’s by far cheaper than getting Foxtel….

    I agree with the previous posters – Foxtel needs to adapt to survive. They have a monopoly with so much of the content in Australia – if they simply started charging per channel with no minimum subscriptions delivered via IP i’d probably sign up for a few channels (even with the ads). R

  7. I havent had Foxtel since they dropped IRDETO for NDS encryption. :-D

    I have NetFlix up and running on my AppleTV and Xbox360’s which I quite enjoy and would consider using Quickflix if they can get the content, device support and value proposition right (so far they havent).

  8. Oh dear. For a start the latest European Championships were offered through Setanta. They are a separate company who charge a subscription fee to either subscribe via your Foxtel box, and/or access matches via their internet streaming access. You could even sign up for a one month package for about $16.99 with no contract, then when you chrned word was they were offering you to stay on for a few months at a significantly reduced fee. Remember we live in a commercial world and Setanta would have paid A LOT of money to secure those rights from UEFA.

    Welcome to the world of digital media rights. It costs broadcasters money. Lots of it.

    For all the haters who didn’t experience Foxtel’s Olympics app you’re really missing out on an incredible user experience and I believe the future of connected multi-device television. I’m talking what you want, when you want, whatever device you want, ad free, and pre-tagged into ‘chapters’ where you could click a button and immediately watch the last 15 seconds of a swimming medal. I’m no techie but I could immediately tell there was no ‘lag’ waiting for it to buffer and the stream was as good as DVD quality within about 6 seconds (I think it’s called HLS, either way it was amazing).

    The NBN isn’t the answer to more content being available for free. Content is king and when it’s tied up in existing rights deals it’s not like the NBN can start bidding for content. Sure the cost of delivery goes down, but one could argue that means there’s more profit so the content rights holders will be looking for a larger share. AFL and NRL just negotiated deals worth over $1bn each.

    For clarity I don’t work for Foxtel but I do have 2 x IQ2 at home (primarily for sport as the author mentioned is the main reason – as I’m massive EPL/A-League fan – but another upstairs for my wife to watch while I’m watching football).

    • @Dec

      I don’t think anybody believes Foxtel is going to disappear entirely. But it will become increasingly more and more Sports oriented. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but with FTA shows being offered over IPTV and Video on Demand becoming more prevalent (of which the NBN will massively accelerate the market share due to reliable connectivity for at LEAST 97% of the country) Foxtel’s other “offerings” are becoming outdated. THIS is what Paul Budde is saying. They’re not a particularly sports oriented family and so Foxtel is not much use to them.

      Certainly there are millions of families who are, but Foxtel’s scope is being diminished, if not its’ importance, by the NBN and the VOD and IPTV applications therein.

      • I suspect Foxtel will become more IPTV and VOD oriented. And sports will continue to drive acquisitions, along with moves like their exclusive output deal with HBO last week.

  9. Content is king, and with the independent content providers contracts expiring over the next couple of years, togther with the content stated by Foxtel to be available as part of the recent ACCC approval process for their merge (takeover) of Austar, we will see an eventual move of content to IPTV. The Austar brand has virtually disappeared within days of the approval, and one of the first victims was the Ovation Channel squeezed out by Foxtel last year via increased content delivery & network costs. In part, the channel was replaced by SBS Subscription TV ‘s Stvdio channel. Given that VOD content for the delivery of movies will become open slather, Foxtel will fight tooth & nail to keep sport in their own domain, and perhaps only access to IPTV though their own network. I can’t see FetchTV and other IPTV providers ever gaining access to the major sports in the next 10 years unless the FTA TV networks also find a way to negotiate their own contracts with IPTV content providers like FetchTV, Optus etc. The recent move of Rugby Union away from Nine back to thee Ten netowrk gives some hope that Ten may see fit to share costs with an IPTV provider considering their current financial woes. One can only hope. I trialled Fetch TV for about 10 months until I changed cities and may have the NBN connected by December and will reconsider taking it up again, despite the over poor quantity of content available. Currently, I am accessing movies etc. via a Sony smart TV which offers some free content plus a few paid subscription channels like Quickflix. I have Austar/Foxtel/Foxstar/Austel subscription and will be cutting the umbilical cord soon. As the household has had a subscription for 14 years, I am always gob-smacked when they offer long-term customers such as ourselves wonderful new deals only at a premium price, but never at a reduced cost for value added due to our past loyalty. This has been pointed out to them in numerous surveys they have asked to complete, but nothing’s changed except the ever increasing price due to lack of competition. Roll out NBN and bring on some real competition, Switch off Austar/Foxtel.

  10. I am close to dumping Foxtel. I don’t mind the high prices so much, but when paying over $100 per month, I wouldn’t expect to be continually bombarded by advertising.

    My XBMC system, with PVR configured for commercial detection and skipping, I never need to see any more advertising, if (rarely) watching something broadcast on commercial FTA. However, with all the content available on Usenet and free content produced by companies such as Revision3, I have little time left to watch Foxtel or FTA.

    For many years Foxtel has taken it’s audience for granted, continually increasing prices and constantly blasting out advertising and self promotion. The audience now has a much wider choice of alternatives and Foxtel will need to start providng some value if it plans to remain a viable player in the market.

  11. Foxtel will be gone from my place as soon as the existing contract is up, the sheer fact that almost all there channels are now doing 5 add in a 2.5 minute slot three or four times per 30 minute slot is crap and it seems to be getting worse.

    If this is the by product of purchasing austar then there accounts/advisers need to be shot.

    The 100pm I pay foxtel will go to the isp and iptv providers who are give me the content I want when needed.

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