Three months ago Sky won a rush of excited headlines when it released the NOW TV box – an internet connected box which allows access to iPlayer, Vevo and Sky’s movie and sports content – for just £9.99.
Today the broadcaster announced another headline-grabbing bargain – access to Sky 1, Sky Living and Sky Atlantic plus 7 other pay-TV channels for just £4.99 per month.
Initially the channels will be available on the NOW TV box, PS3 and Roku but other devices are promised soon.
To subscribe to the same channels via Sky’s satellite service would cost you £21.50 per month, though Sky say the £4.99 is only introductory offer which may change next March.
As well being an excellent bargain for TV fans, the launch price just happens to be the same as that charged by streaming rivals Netflix and Lovefilm. As Sky’s adverts never tire of telling us, these tend to be based around older shows and films, unlike it’s catalogue of newer and first-run content.
By price-matching the new Entertainment pack with its two biggest on-demand rivals, Sky ensures the only choice customers need to make is whether they’re happy with a service based around box sets of Spooks and I’m Alan Partridge or prefer to watch The Newsroom and James Spader’s superb The Blacklist.
Unlike Netflix and Lovefilm, NOW TV doesn’t include films in it’s £4.99 offering but these can be added – or bought solo if you don’t want TV shows – for £8.99 per month.
Subscribers to Sky’s traditional dish service TV service will not only pay more for the channels offered in the Entertainment pack, they can’t buy the broadcaster’s movie channels without having a standard TV pack as well.
So NOW TV is a cheaper and more flexible option, provided you don’t mind the inability to record and are happy to trust that any shows you enjoy will be available on-demand as well as on the live channels.
Sky 1 on YouView?
One of the first questions the NOW TV Twitter team were asked following today’s announcement was whether the company plans to bring the Entertainment pack to YouView.
Sky’s entertainment channels and shows are already available on the platform via TalkTalk but not via BT and for the time being won’t be available through NOW TV.
But the company is teasing that it will “have news regarding this device soon”.
Adding the on-demand content would be as simple as updating the NOW TV app which already exists on YouView boxes but adding the live channels would be dependent on an update to the core YouView software.
The company has already said this is planned – it’s necessary to bring both the BBC Connected Red Button and live channels being sold directly by the content owner, not ISPs such as BT and TalkTalk.
Does NOW TV’s Tweet indicate this update is getting closer?
YouView isn’t saying – the company tends not to pre-announce updates – but NOW TV is clearly expecting to sell more of its content on the platform without having to do deals with rivals.
Watch this space….