Movie Networks channels to fold

By David Knox on December 7, 2012 / Filed Under Pay TV, Top Stories 47

Subscription TV’s Movie Network channels will cease to exist after December 31st.

Set to shut down are Movie One, Movie Two, FMC (Family Movie Channel), Movie Extra, Movie Greats and StarPics 1 & 2.

Studio Partners Time Warner, Disney, MGM & Village Roadshow announced their decision to end their joint venture partnership yesterday.

Around 40 Staff were told by management yesterday.

General Manager Peter Jenetsky told TV Tonight, “The Shareholders acknowledge that it is a disappointing outcome for the Management and Staff who after 12 years have achieved great success in building the Movie Network Channels business for their Studio and Subscription TV Distribution Partners.

“Personally I am extremely proud of the many accomplishments and accolades achieved by Movie Network Channels community during this time. We have been constant innovators in terms of our channels and services, formats and brands, productions, acquisitions and digital initiatives. Such accomplishments would not have been possible without the great support of our many and varied partners and collaborators who we have counted on time after time to make our ambitions come to fruition.

“Today was an exceedingly difficult day for all of us here at Movie Network Channels, and our first priority was to focus on the needs of colleagues and staff. I’m incredibly proud of each and every staff members professionalism, commitment and loyalty to this company, and never more than today when they received such devastating news.”

Original programming on Movie Networks has included Conspiracy 365 (pictured), The Jesters, Chandon Pictures, Small Time Gangster, Project Greenlight plus sponsorship of Tropfest, Movie Extra Webfest and AFI Awards.

The news follows Foxtel’s decision not to renew its movie contracts with suppliers while it prepares to launch its own movie channels, having recently purchasing Premium Movie Partnership (Showtime channels).

Foxtel Director of Television Brian Walsh recently told TV Tonight, “We will be rebadging those channels and reconfiguring the genre channels under movies and relaunching that service in early 2013.

“We’re holding our Upfronts event until the new year when we can publicly detail what our movies offerings will be and what our premium drama will be.

“We’ll have a new coat of paint, it will have a new name, it’s not going to be called Showtime.”

47 Comments »

  1. Bob80 January 1, 2013 at 9:55 am -

    David, how does this affect their sponsorship of Tropfest 2013? Who will broadcast Tropfest now?

  2. Phil December 10, 2012 at 9:29 am -

    @David …. 16 channels down to 11 …. for the same price. This is a significant drop in channel choice / viewing options. I think it confirms the view that Foxtel are looking to increase their profit margin on this package. And Mr Walsh’s lick of paint doesn’t seem to be quite enough in my book. I think I have ‘jumped’ to the correct conclusion. Time to fire up the Apple TV to rent what movies I want.

  3. Walt December 10, 2012 at 6:19 am -

    In the current package structure TCM is included in the Get Started Package, not in the movie tiers (although it used to be). I imagine that is where it will remain.

  4. Walt December 10, 2012 at 6:18 am -

    In the current package structure TCM is included in the Get Started Package, not in the movie tiers (although It’s used to be). I expect that’s where it will remain.

  5. Phoenix December 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm -

    @ Paolo Royale — I’m sure new movie channels will be released by Foxtel. And I’m hoping you’re right that they’re “new and improved”. :-)

  6. tvjunkie01 December 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm -

    David might know of this, but have read elsewhere, that the new channels are going to be released tonight after 6pm, somekind of embargo till then.

  7. Paolo Royale December 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm -

    @Phoenix Settle down and wait and see. An announcement on new,improved movie channel brands and offerings will be released soon. No doubt Foxtel had to delay releasing their plans until affected staff had been notified.

  8. Kenny December 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm -

    @wwenrl – TCM (Turner Classic Movies) is owned by Turner-Time-Life-Warner and usually comes as a package with CNN. Only Turner has rights to all of their TCM titles. 99.99% chance it will stay.

  9. tvjunkie01 December 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm -

    I Love how some people are already making negative comments on the new film channels, already, even though nothing official has been announced, other than showtime and movie network are not going to be around 1 Jan 2013. No websites are up, no listing of which films are going to be on the first week, or which studios will or will not be on the new channels.
    Until Foxtel come out and say what they are going to be doing- it is going to be pure speculation. The only people who know what is going on, are the people at Foxtel, and the film studios they are dealing with right now!

  10. David Knox December 8, 2012 at 8:24 pm -

    Phil I think you are jumping to conclusions. Wait until the statement from Foxtel which is already reported as negotiating new deals.

  11. Phil December 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm -

    @TBone23 I rang foxtel and they said there were more showtime channels launching and the price would be the same. But I also read somewhere they don’t have deals with the 4 movie network studios. So I am downgrading my package and will buy movies rather than subscribe to them. I’m afraid I want more than a new name and a lick of paint as Mr Walsh says they’ll do. How absurd is that statement! Is he really in charge of television?

  12. TBone23 December 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm -

    Well this is a shock.
    I wonder what this does to our prices they better not stay the same after losing 7 channels.

  13. wwenrl December 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm -

    David, what about the TCM Channel, is that going or staying?

  14. Pertinax December 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm -

    What is the point of movie channels these days anyway?

    Most Hollywood films are rubbish and there are only 1 or 2 movies a month on that I would ever want to watch. Much cheaper to get them on Pay per View or DVD.

    Our household subscribes to the movie channels only to watch Mad Men, True Blood, Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, Treme, Girls etc.

  15. Pertinax December 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm -

    Foxtel are increasing their monopoly. In an interview about their taking over Showtime and locking up the rights to all HBO content for decades, they straight said they will be putting up prices for premium content

  16. David Knox December 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm -

    Yes, SBS owns World Movies and Studio.

  17. junkyard December 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm -

    Please tell me world movies is safe???????

  18. tvjunkie01 December 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm -

    BigVic December 7, 2012 at 12:20 pm &

    Kev December 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm –

    Not sure if this is a troll, but you really don’t think foxtel would ditch all the film channels…. for more sports??? How about the people who subscribe to pay, not for sport, but for films?

  19. Ronnie December 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm -

    Don’t forget independent producers are big losers here as well. MNC have commissioned hours of original scripted comedy and drama from smaller production companies. They were another “door”, not in the “club” and prepared to take a few risks. Now we have the same old Showtime drama team (with a new coat of paint) commissioning from their buddies as usual – Screentime, Endemol, Matchbox. Same as it ever was. As Foxtel drives down the programming costs, the 10% spend on Australian content also comes down.

  20. rockym December 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm -

    hopefully movie network channels will be replaced with some new movie channels but if not foxtel should definitely lower the subscription price. i guess we will know in a few weeks

  21. Phil December 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm -

    lol … @Josh777 … glad to see that you are still drinking the Foxtel Koolaid! I sure hope (assume) you are on the payroll over there.And I still disagree that consolidation of operators is a good thing. Because pay tv should be about options. I pay, so I want to choose. And maybe one day I’d like to choose not to have Foxtel, but some other good and cheaper pay tv / IPTV service. It seems Foxtel are just out to take over or squash any opposition and any operator who could deliver good channels and content to the wider marketplace.

  22. PS December 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm -

    Very sad news – best wishes to all the team at Movie Network.

  23. BigVic December 7, 2012 at 12:20 pm -

    Will it make way for Fox Sports 4 and Eurosport HD

  24. Kev December 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm -

    Making room for more sports channels?

  25. Josh777 December 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm -

    @ johnjet – this is nothing to worry about as it is Foxtel consolidating what is being offered. Instead of being offered two channels that revolve around action content (Showtime Action & Movie Extra) and two channels dedicated to female romance/drama (Showtime Drama & Movie Greats), they will make one channel for each genre allowing for more channels to be launched for other genres (e.g. a channel dedicated to horror, crime, indie, etc.) I would also expect to see only one timeshift channel (+2) for the main channel, meaning that the other 3 timeshift channels currently offered (Showcase 2, Movie Two, & Starpics 2),will be closed allowing more spectrum for more channels (whether it be movie channels or if Foxtel decide to leave them for another genre). Foxtel’s plan to copy what Sky have successfully done in the U.K. is definitely a good idea – just a matter of waiting to see if it works.

  26. David Knox December 7, 2012 at 11:54 am -

    Shows will continue.

  27. lulu December 7, 2012 at 11:51 am -

    Showtime will no longer exist? What will happen to the tv series they show each week after Dec 31st? Will we never see the end of them? I’m mainly concerned about what will happen with new episodes of Dexter?

  28. tvjunkie01 December 7, 2012 at 11:37 am -

    johnjet December 7, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I think it is a bit early to be jumping to conclusions about what they may or may not be offering, the new film channels.

  29. johnjet December 7, 2012 at 11:34 am -

    Reading the article in the Australian, I was disturbed by the line “movie strategy to subscribers including fewer channels and repeats, more emphasis on new releases and an improved video-on-demand service.”

    To me this suggests that Foxtel will reduce the amount of movies that we have access to and unless you have an IQ, you will miss a lot of movies that will be played early in the movies – usually the independent, non-commercial hits.

    But also they seem to be going to concentrate more on PPV, than giving a truly unique movie service.

    I think it’s time to review my package, once I see what they are offering.

  30. MHA December 7, 2012 at 10:30 am -

    @Joe Bloggs, yes, as we pay a premium for this content, it should be presented to us branding free as the film/program makers intended and not stained by on-screen marketing/graffiti tags.

    This is why with our broadband connecntion, if you know where to go, we view most current TV programs from elsewhere in HD, with 5.1, and logo and break free as we hardly ever watch the delayed and poor SD only presentation on free-to-air TV as it is.

    One of the main reasons we currently have Foxtel is for the HD movies content which is mostly HD, 5.1 and logo and break free. That includes Showcase which is also logo free and for us was good to see current Dexter and Boardwalk Empire logo free and in HD, thus saving us a couple programs having to be sourced elsewhere.

  31. randwick December 7, 2012 at 10:24 am -

    I pay $112 a month for foxtel – I hope they come up with something to replace this …….

  32. David Knox December 7, 2012 at 10:11 am -

    An announcement will be made soon about new movie channels.

  33. Qubec December 7, 2012 at 10:03 am -

    This is disgraceful!!!! How can Foxtel let 7 of their channels just die? These must be some of the strongest channels. As a customer for over a decade I don’t like being left in the dark about what will happen to my subscription. How can they not have a plan in place to announce to the public what will happen next at the same time as announcing this? The uncertainty is terrible PR

  34. Tony Bee December 7, 2012 at 9:59 am -

    Foxtel had better replace this with something at least as good or they will be losing a few subscribers. I think Foxtel is great value for money, in its current format.

  35. tvjunkie01 December 7, 2012 at 9:49 am -

    I spoke to someone at foxtel yesterday(best way to find out what is happening with the film channels), it seems basically showtime and movie network will be one combined film network, no longer showtime and movie network, against each other.

    theaustralian.com.au/media/foxtel-channels-to-change-as-movie-network-shuts/story-e6frg996-1226531729624

  36. Ashton December 7, 2012 at 9:46 am -

    For people like myself who subscribe to both movie packages, this will see fees drop dramatically so it is a price reduction. I suspect foxtel will add more movie genre channels, and it would be highly unlikely if they didn’t relaunch a family/kids movie channel.

  37. JoeBloggs December 7, 2012 at 9:27 am -

    A logo on screen is enough to make you drop it?

    Seems awfully petty.

    Hopefully this means better movies on the existing showtime channels in whatever form they may be, because most of them are awful.

  38. reubot December 7, 2012 at 9:09 am -

    Surely this will have a negative impact on the smaller players (such as TransACT) who carry the channels…I doubt Foxtel will let anyone other than Optus have them.

  39. Rayne December 7, 2012 at 9:09 am -

    We don’t have and will never have Foxtel, as Phoenix said it’s grossly overpriced. I can see most of what I want eventually on FTA or if not there are other means out there which cost me nothing other than a broadband internet connection which I am paying for anyway ;)

  40. Skip December 7, 2012 at 9:02 am -

    Surely one of the worst aspects of this announcement is the 40 odd people that are out of work leading up to Christmas!
    Plus Foxtel seem to be forcing movie 1′s hand, now they control showtime and all.

  41. MHA December 7, 2012 at 8:31 am -

    Well, less movie channels = cut in monthly fees, I think not! Also, will Foxtel introduce on-screen logos/branding on all the movie channels now that they will have direct control? If so, we will be dropping the Movies package. The recent introduction of a logo on World Movies has already made me decide to discontinue if the other movie channels follow suit.

  42. AndrewG December 7, 2012 at 7:58 am -

    We’ve only subscribed to the movie network package cause the kids watch FMC. What will they do now. Go and play outside…lol

  43. Josh777 December 7, 2012 at 7:45 am -

    I read this last night on AusPayTV and Adelaide Now and couldn’t believe Movie Network would close down as opposed to Foxtel buying them out like Showtime. I really hope that Foxtel are ready to rebrand Showime and launch additional channels by January 1st otherwise the movie genre will be half empty resulting in a lot of subscribers upset having half the amount to watch over the new year break.

  44. Rutzie December 7, 2012 at 7:34 am -

    Will this affect pricing in any way regarding Platinum HD?

  45. Craig December 7, 2012 at 7:28 am -

    So what does this mean for subscribers?
    Will we get a cut in our monthly rate?

  46. Phoenix December 7, 2012 at 7:04 am -

    I’m so shocked that, on reading this article, I immediately checked the date, sure that I’d somehow travelled through time and it was 1 April.

    I’m also extremely sceptical that, as a Foxtel subscriber, that I’ll be offered a single cent’s reduction in my already overpriced subscription.

    Foxtel can attempt to dress up this poor situation as much as possible, but the bottom line is they are going to be a drastically reduced service. They will attempt to persuade everyone that their rebadging, relisting and relaunching of the previous eight movie channels will be a win for subscribers.

    It’s not. It will be an epic fail for Foxtel.

  47. tihsamikah December 7, 2012 at 5:33 am -

    how about a price drop, and you know… 5.1 sound at the very least?

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