Sky TV has announced price hikes that will kick in this June. Most packages will increase by £2 a month - or £24 a year - but the premier package (known as The Complete), will rise by an eye-watering £4.25 a month. This follows just six months after the last round of price hikes.
Anyone with a basic TV package will have to pay between £1 and £2.50 more a month - depending on what they were paying previously. A number of packages will increase by £2 a month - including Family, Variety and Sports. Others - including Movies - will increase by £1 a month.
The price of the next generation TV service, Sky Q, will also go up. Packages will start at £44 a month instead of £42, and Sky Q Silver will start at £56 a month rather than £54. It means customers will pay an incredible £672 a year for their TV. Cable.co.uk has a full list of the new charges
Sky has defended the hikes, by pointing out lots of new services and a Sky Kids app. It also insists that bills will rise by an average of less than £3 a month. However, there will be plenty of people who think they are paying enough already.
Hannah Maundrell, Editor in Chief of money.co.uk, says we should use price hikes to take stock, and work out just what we are paying for TV. She says: "With price rises spread over the year it can be hard to keep track. Your Sky bundle may have seemed cheap when you first signed up but over time the regular price hikes could mean it's become a costly habit."
She advises that it's worth thinking long and hard about what TV you watch, how much value you are getting from the package, and whether it's worth what you are paying for it. If you have been with Sky for the minimum contract period, you should be able to call, cancel, and walk away.
There are cheaper alternatives. If you only tend to use Sky for movies or TV boxsets, for example, it's worth looking into streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, to see whether they offer enough variety - and have enough new films - to replace your need for Sky. These tend to be significantly cheaper, so are well worth looking into.
If you want brand new movies, you could consider tying a streaming service in with renting one-offs from somewhere like Blinkbox. It could still be cheaper than getting a movies package from Sky.
Finally, it's worth looking at Sky's own on-demand service, Now TV. You'll need to buy the box, then sign up for a movies pass, an entertainment pass, or a sports pass. Most of the packages are monthly, but the sports pass has a day or a weekly option - which let you watch specific games without having to sign up all month. Each of the three are cheaper than the full Sky service, but more limited. So it's worth investigating whether you can get everything you want for less.
If you are mid-contract, you don't have the freedom to leave without large penalties, but it means it's worth making a note in your diary, and then taking steps on the day your contract expires.
Even if you feel it's still worth paying for, you should be able to cut your costs. New customers will still pay £20 a month for the basic package (£240 a year), but existing customers will see their price go up between £1 and £2.50 a month to £270.
Mandrill highlights that the price discrepancy means there should be some wiggle room for those who have been with Sky for years. She says: "Don't be afraid to be bolshie and haggle, threaten to leave and you could see your monthly cost as much as halved, it's what I did and it worked."