The streaming service will be increasing prices again from September. Is it still worth it?
From 1st September 2020, the price of an Entertainment Pass on NOW TV will go up by £1 to £9.99 a month. The Hayu pass will go up by the same amount to £4.99 a month.
A series of price increases
These are yet more hikes in prices for Sky’s streaming service after a number over the last 18 to 24 months.
It’s the second in 12 months for the Entertainment Pass (a year ago it was £7.99), and the Sky Cinema pass jumped by 20% from £9.99 to £11.99 in April 2019.
And it’s been worse for sports fans. The Sky Sports day pass was £6.99 two years ago, but two increases since then has pushed it to £9.99 – a huge 43% extra. And 18 months ago the Sky Sports week pass went up to £14.99 from £12.99 (it had been £10.99 until February 2018).
I’m always tracking the different deals and discounts on NOW TV, and recently they’ve not been so good.
During lockdown there have been hardly any special offers for NOW TV, and it’s been harder to pick up gift cards (particularly sports) and passes bundled with boxes too.
These tend to be cheaper than just buying or renewing a pass direct with NOW TV.
Cynically you could guess that NOW TV knew they didn’t need to entice people along with discounts while they were stuck at home.
Yes, there could be supply chain issues, but I don’t see how this prevents digital offers and even those gift cards from going on sale.
And I noticed fewer offers and less freebies even before this year, which suggests to me a strategy away from attracting new customers to one that brings up the price people pay.
Is it still worth it?
NOW TV vs Sky
At full price, these passes are still significantly cheaper than getting your TV directly from the likes of Sky or Virgin.
You could sign up to a new Sky TV package for £25 a month – £15 more than the new price for the NOW TV Entertainment pass, and £120 more a year.
Yes you’ll get extras with cable and satellite TV such as a box to record programmes, but you’re also be tied into a long contract.
A huge part of the appeal of NOW TV is you can pick and choose each month if you want a certain package or not. So although the TV and film package for a year (at full price) with NOW TV will cost you £263.76, you can easily halve that by only having the passes every other month.
And of course, you rarely have to pay full price for NOW TV!
I’ve managed to utilise all sorts of deals and tricks over the last few years that mean the cost of the Entertainment month pass is always under £5. I’ve even got it free a few times.
And though discounts have been rare recently, I’d expect them to come back to some degree. You should always be able to pay less than full price.
NOW TV vs Amazon Prime, Netflix or Disney
It’s a harder call if you’re thinking of its value versus the other streaming services.
Amazon Prime is £7.99 a month (£5.99 without the extra Amazon benefits) or £79 a year, the most popular Netflix is £8.99 a month while Disney + is £5.99 month.
All have a mix of TV and movies with a price cheaper than the individual NOW TV passes. So in terms of price and content, you will probably be better off with one of the other options.
However, it’s all about what you want to watch, and if you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, West World or other shows that are only on Sky then you’ll want to give NOW TV a go at least some of the time.
The trick is to alternate between the services and only pay for the ones you are watching. I’m actually on a NOW TV break right now as we’ve got a lot of shows to catch up on via Netflix. But we’ll come back later in the year to stream the shows we’ll have missed on NOW TV.
There’s more in this video about the different TV streaming options and getting the best value from them
Can you beat the increases
If you want to make sure you lock in passes at a lower price, then your best bet is to get a discounted gift card.
You can pick up two months of Entertainment from Currys for £10, and you can buy multiples. There are similar savings on the Sky Cinema pass (two months for £15) and week of Sport for £10.
Gift cards tend to last 12 months but it’s worth checking when you buy them if there is an expiration date listed.
You can also get a bundled Entertainment pass, Cinema Pass and Day sports pass with a NOW TV smart stick for around £29.99. Though this isn’t the best price – it’s often knocked down to £20 – it’s still decent value if you need all three passes and the stick. Plus you can sell your stick to CEX – just make sure you install it and log-on first as the passes are preloaded.
If you have a problem with your passes then you can get in touch with NOW TV via webchat – though I generally find this a bit of a pain!
The other great trick is to cancel your pass – or at least go through the process. Most of the time you will be offered a pass at a discounted price. Sometimes this can be beaten by other deals, but you never know – you might get something dirt cheap.