/ Technology

Why charge extra for Sky Go Extra?

Sky Go Extra on London Tube

Sky Go Extra adds another £5 per month to an already expensive service – is this fair or is Sky taking its customers for a ride? Would you pay extra to be able to download TV and films to watch later?

Sky is very successful. If you want to watch the most popular sports, the latest films first or catch the greatest US TV shows (Game of Thrones is my favourite) then Sky has the market pretty well sewn up.

Naturally, none of this comes cheap, but Sky pays to licence all this entertainment so you can justify the expense if that’s what you want. And Sky does a great job in its coverage – unpopular as its poaching of Formula 1 TV rights was, its coverage is (in my opinion) outstanding.

Downloading content for on-the-go viewing

However, I personally think charging for Sky Go Extra is step over the line. You’re not paying for content here. You’re just paying for the right to access this content in the way you want it. You can read all about the nitty gritty of Sky Go Extra on Which? Tech Daily, but it’s basically an extension to the existing free-to-subscribers Sky Go service, letting users download films and TV episodes to watch later when offline. At the moment, normal Sky Go users can only stream content and so require an internet connection at all times.

In principle, then, it’s a damn good idea – I love the idea of enjoying films and TV programs in internet-free zones, such as planes and trains. But Sky has slapped a £5-a-month subscription charge on this new feature. You’re not getting any new content, of course, you can only access what’s already included in your subscription.

A no go for Sky Go Extra?

Is it fair for Sky to charge for this addition? I don’t think so and here’s why:

It’s unlikely to cost Sky much more to provide the service. This is extra functionality, not a new piece of hardware or new content. Unlike Sky’s multiroom service where you pay extra to subsidise the additional box needed, you already own the equipment needed to access Sky Go Extra on your laptop, tablet or phone. Sky doesn’t charge to access catch-up TV via a Sky box, does it? Why is this any different? It’s especially galling in light of recent increases in overall subscription charges, too.

It’s not very smart. Much of Sky’s recent attention is focused on competing with the likes of Netlfix and LoveFilm, both of which offer libraries of TV and films. Sky launched Now TV, for example, as a direct competitor to them both. But Sky Go is the equivalent for Sky subscribers, and Extra adds something no other service can offer – offline viewing. It’s a great feature and it would have been a great piece of goodwill to its loyal customers, but the extra charge leaves a bitter taste.

How many extras can its customers bear before they say enough is enough?


Is this not similar to the old Sky Desktop which allowed you to download films etc to the desktop for offline viewing, at no extra cost?


Phillip Thorne says:
13 May 2014

I used to be able to download with Sky desktop for free and now all of a sudden I can’t do it anymore. I can still stream but not download.

I spoke to Sky and they told me they wanted an extra fiver for Sky Go Extra and I told them what to do with it!

I have my phone, TV and broadband service with Sky and pay them over £90 per month without including the calls I make and they want me to give them more money to be able to watch a film for a limited time until it expires and deletes itself anyway.

Has anyone else found recently that the advert breaks are getting so long you forget what you was watching or just lose interest and do something else or is that just me?

I always remember when I was a kid my mother telling me the BBC didn’t have advert breaks as you paid them with a license fee. Those rules have long gone now then! If that were still true Sky would have to either keep the adverts and scrap the subscription fee or vice verse.

Actually the TV license now mostly goes to the Government. Which explains allot if you used to prefer BBC1 and BBC2 to the other channels.


This is very similar to when Sky used to charge £10/month extra for Sky+ (to record programmes to the Sky box’s hard disk). Sky falsely claimed it was a service, yet the only service is the channels which are paid for separately and the ability to record is not a service but functionality within the Sky box which is already owned by the consumer.


Sky charges me £2.50 per month for not having their tv! While their broadband and evening/weekend phone call package have been trouble free, I’m just about to migrate to PlusNet. I called Sky recently and asked them to take off the £2.50 charge, but they refused, so I’m voting with my feet.


I voted with my feet and dumped Sky about a year ago because of their pricing structure. I have no regrets, I just get irritated with all the junk mail from Sky trying to get me to re-subscribe.

Bernard Lavelle says:
25 January 2013

SKy contacted me with research on Sky Go and one of the questions was about the £5. I said I was not prepared to pay for it and I am sure I was not alone in this. I already pay for the content so why should i pay twice for it? I travel a lot so will be sticking with the FREE BBC iPlayer for my travelling consumption. I suggest others do the same.

Sky need to think about this hard as i see Sky Go as added value to keep me with Sky. Virgin seem to be ahead of the game against Sky now and this short term revenue generator may have a longer term revenue impact for Sky.

Sky – we are watching you, don’t take your customers for granted!

Jules says:
25 January 2013

This is so typical of Sky – fleece the customer! I left Sky after having endured 2 hours of nonsense and hard sell from them. I would like to see see Which? campaign for the right to cancel on line. Sky do not understand that customer convenience should come first.

Malay says:
25 January 2013

Hi this latest attempt by Sky to get more money from us for an already ridiculously expensive service is just typical of the greed of large companies.
I will be seriously looking at alternatives now after being a loyal Sky customer from its inception.
This is just another example of their quest to extract even more money from their customers.
I urge everyone to look at alternative services and eventually, maybe, Sky will come to value their business.
Unhappy subscriber

Snowdin10 says:
26 January 2013

I agree with all the comments about Sky’s greed in charging extra for this non-service. Anyone seriously considering this might think about putting SkyGo on a laptop or PC and adding a programme like Audials One v10 (£40 today) that lets you copy content off the screen plus sound to whatever format you like. It works well as long as you have a fast enough connection for streaming. That way you have a one off charge instead of a never ending drain and can keep programmes as long as you like. I’ve used Audials for several years and have no financial connection to the company! The other thing I detest about SkyGo is that it doesn’t allow you to connect an Ipad via an HDMI lead to a TV to get a decent sized picture. The Iplayers apps do, no problem, but I can’t with SkyGo despite having paid my subscription.