Sky’s online streaming service NOW TV has launched the NOW TV Combo – the UK’s first ever contract-free triple play bundle, offering the latest and best TV, unlimited broadband as well as a range of call packages, all without a contract.
Available from July, the NOW TV Combo comes complete with the brand new NOW TV Smart Box, combining a wide range of live and on demand TV with up to 35 pay-TV and over 60 free-to-air TV channels, which it says makes it even easier for people to find and watch the shows they love.
Launched in 2012, NOW TV changed the way customers can watch the latest movies, TV shows and exclusive live sports available on pay-TV, giving them the flexibility to enjoy great entertainment on their terms, without a contract. According to Sky, the NOW TV Combo will give customers even better control, enabling them to get TV, reliable unlimited broadband and call packages starting from £9.99 a month plus line rental, without a contract.
“NOW TV has got something for everyone – TV they love to watch, when they want and on their own terms,” noted Gidon Katz, Managing Director of NOW TV. “It’s why we’re not stopping there. With the NOW TV Combo, we’re pushing the boundaries again with the UK’s first contract-free triple play bundle. Plus, our customers will get the benefits of our new NOW TV Smart Box that brings together free-to-air and Pay TV shows seamlessly. We know people want the freedom and control of a no strings relationship when it comes to choosing their TV, broadband and call package, so the NOW TV Combo is the product and service they deserve.”
Every NOW TV Combo comes with the brand new Smart Box, which Sky says is the most advanced streaming box available in its price bracket, enabling customers to watch the best free and pay TV available all in one place.
Sky says the new homepage is the one stop destination for all its customers’ viewing needs. The homepage also offers editorial recommendations updated throughout the day, featuring the best shows from all the channels.
NOW TV worked with Silicon Valley based Roku. to develop the new NOW TV Smart Box which will sit alongside the existing NOW TV Box.
David Mercer, Principal Analyst – Digital Consumer Practice at Strategy Analytics suggests that part of the initiative is Sky’s attempt to expand its customer base by increasing penetration among Freeview households. Targeting a more ‘pay-as-you-go’ mindset – those who see annual contracts as too risky financially but are happy to occasionally dip into premium sport and film content. “More than a third of UK homes use Freeview as their only TV service, and we estimate that 4 per cent of UK homes currently own a NOW TV box, so there’s certainly plenty of opportunity,” he advised.
“By launching the UK’s first service package combining online pay-TV, free TV, broadband and phone calls, NOW TV not only targets Freeview but other triple play providers like TalkTalk and BT. The £9.99 entry level package will be of interest to free TV viewers tempted by the flexibility of switching in and out of pay TV, as well as those looking to get a low cost broadband/TV bundle. The fact the new smart box combines free digital TV channels with Internet TV and video services in one interface should make life easier for people who want everything in one place without switching between different boxes.”
According to Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband and TV expert at uSwitch.com, by offering an alternative to its fixed-term contracts, NOW TV is advancing on the territory inhabited by the monthly rolling options offered by the likes of Netflix.
“Existing triple play bundles that include TV, broadband and landline often tie customers in for at least a year, so the Now TV Combo is unusual in that sense. One of the biggest flaws of bundled deals is that, if you’re unhappy with one service, it’s often much harder to get out.
But we should all be asking if there’s a premium for this new-found flexibility. If you are only looking for a short-term contract then it could be worth paying a bit extra for the added flexibility. However, if you are willing to stay with the same provider for 12 months there are more competitive deals available.
Sky offers a cheaper ‘Saver’ option for those who are willing to sign up for 12 months, but this removes the flexibility of a rolling contract and one of the main selling points of the Now TV pass.”
“As we predicted Sky has launched a NOW TV bundle including broadband,” noted Paolo Pescatore, Director, Multiplay and Media at CCS Insight. “This is a hugely significant move as Sky continues to push the boundaries further and the battle for the living room intensifies.
Sky is the UK market leader and has more exclusive relationships in content than any other provider. NOW TV is much more than an entry-level product, it’s a great product for people who want premium content without any long term commitments. We firmly believe that the future of delivering video is via the Internet and more people are on lookout for alternative ways to sign up to pay-TV and multiplay bundles.
Now TV represents great value for money. Other providers will struggle to compete with Sky given its clear segmentation of the market. All eyes are now on the company’s foray into 4K and, of course, the eagerly-anticipated launch of mobile services in the consumer market. Undoubtedly, Sky will add mobile to its newly-created NOW TV bundle which will generate further appeal across all demographics. This latest move puts pressure on rivals to step up and to bring truly converged multiplay bundles to the market. Sky is in a unique position to differentiate with its premium content rights in all genres.”