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?