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Monday, 24 August 2015 06:28

SVOD marks the beginning of the end for Foxtel Featured


Last weekend I did something I had been considering for many months but finally got round to doing. I switched off my premium Foxtel cable service  and subscribed to Netflix. Despite the increasingly shrill protestations of its boss in past months, Foxtel is an expensive outdated content delivery technology which will go the way of clunky desktop PCs and landline telephones.

With my combination of free to air TV and Netflix, I get pretty much everything I need for big screen viewing in our house for $15 or less a month.

It’s true that I don’t get AFL and EPL sports but, with Fox Sports now on my Apple TV streaming device, those sports will come over to Netflix sooner or later. AFL management will learn one day that as cash strapped sports lovers leave Foxtel in droves, their TV audience is diminishing.

I also don’t get those ridiculous 24x7 news channels repeating the same plane crash, chemical plant explosion or terrorist attack over and over again ad infinitum as if it’s the only story of the day.

And, thankfully, I am no longer tempted to switch on Fox News for a bit of light comedy relief watching those ridiculous obnoxious talking heads trying to outdo each other to see who can be the rudest, most insulting, warmongering idiot.

As far as real news is concerned, the ABC and SBS do a good enough job for me, supplementing the tabloid stuff on commercial TV. If anything of real importance happens, free to air TV always covers it and if I want analysis, I can visit my favourite news sites online.

National Geographic, Discovery Channel? Who cares. They will eventually go SVOD as well.

When it comes to real entertainment - movies and TV series - well Netflix completely obliterates Foxtel. Even the watered down Australian Netflix carries such a wide variety of content that I am almost at a loss what to choose.

Foxtel, will of course argue that you don’t get Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead or Breaking Bad. Well if I get an inexpensive VPN and go to the US Netflix service I can. Meanwhile, not that I give a damn because there are just too many TV series to watch anyway, I can content myself with House of Cards until those other series eventually come to the Australian Netflix.

Take a look at the clunky Foxtel set top box and compare it to an Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox 360, Wii, PS4 or Roku streaming stick (not available in Australian stores yet). It’s not just old technology; it’s an old paradigm.

Regardless of whatever line Foxtel may spin, like other cable content providers around the world, I am not telling its board members anything they don’t already know. They can rail on about how churn was only 10.9% last year but as soon as consumers realise that they can get everything they need for $180 a year instead of $1800 a year then it's curtains.

We have a poll running on our site titled “Do you plan to quit Foxtel and try Neflix instead?”. It’s still early days for the vote count, but the numbers bear out the sentiments of this article.

Foxtel take your last bows because soon it will be curtains.



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Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.




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