Coverage for Winter Olympics = FAIL

For some reason, I have a very keen interest in the Winter Olympics – much more so than the Summer Olympics.  

Maybe it’s due to the fact that *I* personally can run, swim, cycle, jump, etc (of course, not like an Olympian) – but the concept of bobsled, luge, ski jump, slalom and so on is just incredible to behold.

I’ve been looking forward to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics for a few months now – but am deeply disappointed with the decision to grant most of the viewing rights to FOXTEL – a pay-television network.

The coverage on Channel 9 (free-to-air) is kinda limited – being only in the morning from 9 am till 12 pm – and then in the evening from 9.30 pm till 12.30 am.

Sure – that’s over 6 hours coverage – but it kinda sucks to think that I won’t be able to watch much of this with my kids – except for the morning sessions on weekends.

So – I thought I’d see what it would cost to GET a subscription to FOXTEL – they have FOUR channels running simultaneously !    

That’s 96 hours of content – compared to only 6…!

And – this is where the story gets disappointing.

In today’s day-and-age of pay-per-view, and internet subscription TV, etc – I had assumed that technology would allow someone to sign-up to Foxtel for JUST the Winter Olympics – if they LET you, that is.

This would be great – I could pay for a single month of Foxtel – and see it all !

So, I rang ‘em to find out.

Turns out I was WRONG.   Very wrong.  

In order to get the coverage, you have to sign-up to 12 months of Foxtel – at the lowest package price of $42 per month – a minimum 12-month cost of over $500 !

The guy also mentioned that you have to pay the full package of $72 per month, and after that it’s $42 per month, although there’s a 1/2 price special so the first month is only $36 per month – and THEN $42 per month – or, I could sign up for 6 months, but have to pay a $50 connection fee.

Confused ?    Yep – I was too !  

He said that I would get the Winter Olympics coverage for free if I join up for 12 months – and no connection fee.

Hang on a sec …    “get it for free ?”  

Yep – if you’re an existing customer – you still have pay an EXTRA $65 for the additional Winter Olympics channels !!

That just seems like a rip-off.   I bet this same situation would NOT happen for the Summer Olympics !!     Could you imagine the outcry !

Now I understand people complaining about the AFL games on Foxtel – I didn’t appreciate their annoyance until now.

Is there something wrong here ??   

I just don’t “GET” the concept of cable TV – and never have.  

It was first introduced in American towns in outer mountain regions of Pennsylvania in 1948.  They couldn’t get regular TV signal, so someone hooked up a signal booster on a big antenna, and shared the signal to other folk in the area.

Nowadays – you pay an arm-and-a-leg – and get a whole bunch of junk that you don’t want – like Country Music Television – and have to pay EXTRA for movie channels.

AND – there are adverts too !!    You pay $$ to watch commercials !!

The top level pack is $135 per month – jeez !!

Surely – the technology exists – can’t I just do this :

  • $2 per channel – per month
  • Choose what I want – only want a few extra
  • Maybe just Discovery, Disney kids, MTV, and movies channel
  • Just be good to “take your pick” from this lot
  • I could pick 10 channels – and it would be $20 per month
  • And yep, sure – I’d pay another $10-$20 for the 4 Winter Olympics channels


Oh well – not much that can be done – I’m sure I’ll get to see “enough” of the events that I like – just hope Channel 9 doesn’t have too much of the figure skating !

P.S.    Damn u Foxtel !    


One thought on “Coverage for Winter Olympics = FAIL

  1. It’s really about the cost of the infrastructure ie cabling and sending satellites into space. Foxtel started in 95 and only turned its first profit a few years back IIRC.

    Reality is most people only really watch a few channels most of the time, so $20 a month wouldn’t be worth it for Foxtel to sell at that rate.

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