The new Foxtel mag

Foxtel is pretty chuffed about its new magazine. But how good is it really?

In a nutshell, there is good and not so good news, but at least there is change…

The mag is a bigger page-spread, a sexy coffee-table size. Together with dumping the kids channels into one separate section, it has allowed Foxtel to merge more channels onto one page without compromising text size. A smart move, really. Although I’m not a parent with three kids, it could be a problem when mum wants to pick a show and little Johnny wants to know what’s on his favourite channel.

Instead of monthly highlights there are now daily highlights. Cleverly this has also freed up real estate in the mag to promote premium Foxtel product, such as IQ, Box Office, Main Event. Basically anything that will prod you into spending more. The reader will now be hit with daily reminder ads.

The editorial sections have expanded significantly and are neatly divided into sections showcasing Movies, Sport, Kids etc. But there is still a dependence to duplicate editorial content in both Foxtel and Optus magazines, which is a long-standing habit of these ACP mags. Instead of cable merely rehashing its programme content, it’s doing it with magazines too.

The view of the mags is that “nobody subscribes to both, so where’s the harm?” The ‘harm’ is that these mags are not free (and indeed once was a time they were part of your basic subscription). They may be modestly priced when compared to TV Week, but TV Week doesn’t copy half its editorial either. Why are subscribers paying for content that is too frequently cut, paste and copied?

It should come as no surprise to know that these mags have even been published from under the one roof.

In July’s Optus and Foxtel magazines there are dual articles (some of them almost word for word) on the following stories:

Dora’s Fairy Tale
Happy Feet
2007 Asian Cup
Socceroos (5 players to watch)
Socceroos (5 teams to watch)
Nashville Indycar
Major Baseball League
Wallabies
Virgin Queen
Emmerdale
Ian Thorpe
Live Earth
Bud Tingwell
Great Adventure People
Corkscrewed: Wrath of Grapes
Steve Guttenberg

Several writers are attributed in both mags, again having made minor changes to their work for differing mags.

Given Foxtel was relaunching its mag, it is a disappointment this old habit lingers.

Yet for all the fuzzy editorial content the magazines are first and foremost a guide. As nifty as the EPG is, there is nothing that will beat picking up a mag and seeing all the channels there in front of you.

At least Foxtel has had a go at updating its product. They’ve done it in a way that reinforces more branding more of the time. If you didn’t pay separately for this before there’s not enough change to start buying it now, but for anyone who gets it, life is on the improve.

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