Legacy Sky TV plans could be costing you more than you need to pay.
Earlier this year Sky TV shook up its channel list and plans, making it cheaper to watch TV via the satellite broadcaster. Except if you’re on a “legacy” package, such as Original, Variety or Box Sets, you probably didn’t get the discount or extra channels.
Though new customers when signing up would get the new suite of channels, existing customers weren’t automatically switched over. That could mean you’re paying £32 a month for the Variety package, rather than £25 for exactly the same channels. Or £38 for Box Sets rather than £30. And those prices could be £5 lower still if you aren’t bothered about Kids channels.
It’s been 10 months since the change, meaning those on Variety could have overpaid by £120 – and that extra £12 a month will carry on being charged until you make a change.
Alternatively, those on the Original bundle could have been watching an extra 80 channels at no extra cost.
So what can you do about it? Well first a little about the differences
The old Sky TV plans were:
- Original (£20 a month) – the standard Sky TV channels (eg Sky One, Sky Atlantic, Fox)
- Variety (£32 a month) – additional entertainment (eg Discovery), kids and music (eg MTV) channels
- Box Sets (£38 a month) – The Variety bundle plus box sets and HD channels
The current Sky TV plan is:
- Entertainment (£20 a month) – all the entertainment and music channels from the Original and Variety packages
Then there are extra top-ups you can add or remove month-by-month.
- Kids (£5 extra month)
- Box Sets (£5 extra month)
- HD Channels (£5 extra month)
What to do if you’re on an old Sky package
You’ve got two options here, one if you want to stay with Sky, and one if you’d consider leaving. With both you still get the same channels and you should save some serious cash.
You need to get a copy of your bill. It should clearly say what package you are on. If it says anything other than Entertainment for your TV then you’re on an old bundle.
1. Call up Sky and haggle
If you’re on an older plan compare what you’re paying now to the costs of the new channels. It’s likely to be less unless you’ve already negotiated a discount.
So call up Sky. Politely tell them you’re angry you’ve been overpaying all year. Ask to be moved to the cheaper package. You should also ask for the money back. They might not do this, but you might be able to get a further discount instead or have one of the add-ons (eg HD) given to you for free for a year.
While you’re at it, if you also pay for movies or sports channels, or get internet too, see if Sky will also offer you a saving on these as well. You might have to agree to a new 18-month contract, so do check over the total prices before saying yes. There’s no point accepting free extras if you’re not going to watch those channels.
If you’re out of contract with Sky then you can help to push your case by saying you’re thinking of leaving. Ask to speak to the retentions department. It’s worth doing five minutes of research to see what other companies are charging.
2. Replace Sky with NOW TV
I’ve not paid for Sky TV (or Virgin, Talk Talk or BT TV) for six years now. That’s because Sky has another service called NOW TV which has the bulk of the channels, including Sky Atlantic and lots of box sets, and it’s far cheaper.
You pay £7.99 a month for the Entertainment pass. You can actually get it for less through special offers. Personally, I wouldn’t pay more than £5 a month. At this price it’s at least £15 less every month than the cheapest official deal through Sky – which adds up to £180 a year. It could easily be an even bigger saving if you’re currently on the Variety package. You’re not committed to a 12 or 18-month contract so you can cancel at any time.
You can also buy Kids, Sky Cinema and Sky Sports passes. Kids and Cinema once more work out cheaper than going through Sky. Sports though is a different case and costs more on NOW TV if you want to watch it a few times a week. However there are day and week passes which represent good value.
The big difference between Sky and NOW TV is this is a streaming service, like Netflix or iPlayer. So you can stream live or on-demand, but you can’t record. If you want to record Freeview channels (so BBC, C4, Five etc) then you can pick up a decent YouView box for around £125. This should last you at least two years (ours is still going strong in its third year) – which means it’s the equivalent of £5.21 a month for 24 months – and then nothing after. Add that on to the NOW TV pass and you’re still saving decent cash.