You might be paying £500 for Sky TV you could get for £9.79

woman relaxing online on sofa reading some papers

For just £22 a month Sky will offer you access to more than 270 channels, a box that lets you watch in HD and record 3 shows at once while watching a 4th, and a string of exclusive shows not available elsewhere.

And what do people do with all that choice? Mostly watch Bake off.

See also: How to save £139 a year on your Sky subscription

See also: Are you being ripped off on TV packages?

That's according to a new analysis of the viewing habits of Sky customers - showing just two exclusive shows made it into the top 1,500 broadcasts watched by Sky customers last year.

"From these viewing figures, it's obvious that most people favour the programmes aired on free channels, whether they are signed up to a package with Sky TV or not," said Jennifer Elworthy from Freesat, who conducted the research.

10 most-watched progarmmes by Sky subscribers

  1. The Great British Bake Off - BBC1 (5.37million viewers)
  2. I'm a Celebrity – Get Me out of Here - ITV1 (5.26m viewers)
  3. Britain's Got Talent - ITV1 (4.78 million)
  4. Euro 2016: Portugal v France - BBC1 (4.5 million)
  5. Strictly Come Dancing final - BBC1 (4.16 million)
  6. Planet Earth II - BBC1 (4.07 million)
  7. The X Factor - ITV1 (3.99 million)
  8. New Year's Eve Fireworks - BBC1 (3.83 million)
  9. Mrs Brown's Boys: Xmas Special - BBC1 (3.82 million)
  10. EastEnders - BBC1 (3.7 million)

And the most watched thing on Sky....

  • 58th Game of Thrones - Sky Atlantic (2 million)

The only other show to make it into the top 1,500 was the Capital One Cup Final.

"The average Pay-TV customer would save more than £500 a year by switching to a free service," Elworthy said.

And with the advent of new services, there's no reason you can't get exactly what you want to watch, contract free, either with no monthly bill or one that's less than £6 a month.

How to watch for a LOT less

TV box-sets and movies are available on services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and NowTV – for a fraction of the cost.

People who care about sports have fewer options to save, but the likes of NowTV offers full access to Sky Sports from £6.99 a day or £33.99 a month without a contract – letting you tune in to the events you want, and not pay for things you don't care about.

Better, if you're a new customer you can sign up to nowTV's entertainment pass for two months - long enough to watch the new series of Game of Thrones - for £9.79.

And if there's a sporting event you can't miss- you can access the sports channels for £6.99 a day.

Here are some of the cheaper options and what you can still get for your cash:

Pay nothing

Freeview offers a huge selection of channels for no cost at all. There are 13 HD channels, 58 entertainment channels, 5 children's channels, 7 news channels and a load more regional, local and radio channels. Any digital TV should already be able to receive all these channels at no cost at all (bar your TV licence).

With the addition of a freeview plus box, you can pause, rewind and record live TV as well as setting a planner and series link just like you would with a Sky or Virgin plus box.

The box costs less than £100 and once it's yours you need to pay nothing else to access all the TV mentioned above.

Just pay for a box (no subscription)

Credits: Mirrorpix


If that's not enough for you, you can get even more with Freesat.

From less than £80 you can get access to satellite TV, with more than 200 channels and on-demand TV from the likes of the BBC and ITV.

Just like with Freeview, if you get the right box you can also pause, rewind and record live TV and set up a TV planner and series links.

Just the content

Did you know with a simple £30 dongle or plug in smart box you can beam content from your laptop to your TV - or even connect straight to the internet - meaning you can get iPlayer, YouTube and more from your phone, laptop or tablet straight to your TV.

More, that means any online video service you sign up to can be watched on the TV – so you can get access to movies, TV shows and more from the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime .

That means, from £5.99 a month plus a one off charge for a dongle, you effectively have Sky Movies on Demand as well as a host of TV shows.

We've rounded up the best TV streaming services here.


If you want access to the likes of Sky One, Sky Atlantic, box-sets and the all important sports, then NowTV will let you in for a fraction of the cost .

There are 11 channels you won't find on Freeview (shown above) that you can gain access to for £6.99 a month (or less in a package deal), you can get Sky Movies for £9.99 a month (and switch it on or off as you like, rather than be tied in to a contract) or grab the latest football games with all seven Sky Sports Channels for £6.99 for a day – alternatively you can get a week or month-long pass for more , there's currently a deal letting you see a single game, or a week, for one-off fees .

Add it all up and you're not saving a lot, but the advantage is you aren't tied into a contract and don't pay for anything you don't want.

A NowTV box costs just £14.99, and can be bundled in with some of the other offers for a discount, and it also lets you catch up on shows with access to iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5.


The final way to save on TV subscriptions is to wrap them into a bundle with other services .

Virgin, Sky and BT all let you combine phone, internet and TV deals into combination packages.

That means, if you're happy to combine two providers, you can get broadband and TV from Talktalk for £20 a month , BT (including sport) for £29.99 a month at the moment , with Virgin media you can get broadband, TV (including some Sky channels) and even a mobile SIM card thrown in with bigger discounts the more you buy while Sky offers free broadband for a year with its TV packages, letting you save there if not on TV.

To see if there's a bundle deal for you, have a look here.

Most outrageous bill mistakes
See Gallery
Most outrageous bill mistakes
Carol Sandford, 72, called 118 118 from her mobile phone unaware of the charges involved. Calls to the number cost £1.88 per call and there is also a £2.57 per minute charge from landlines. TalkTalk raises this to £5.68 for the first minute and £3.28 per minute after that. TalkTalk told Carol the charge £81.12 charge was correct but luckily 118 118 were kinder, offering to repay the charge in full. Read the full story here.
One Londoner was more than a little confused when his debit card was declined while he was trying to buy just six bottles of American craft beers. But he quickly realised that instead of the £22.30 he owed, he had been charged £223,000! It's thought he punched in the PIN number before the machine was ready and it added the numbers to the total. Luckily the 28-year-old saw the funny side and laughed the incident off. Read more on the story here.

Early Lewis from Detroit was amazed to find his water bill was almost 100 times as much as he was expecting. The bill claimed that Lewis had used 3,740 gallons of water in just one hour. Thankfully common sense prevailed and the Water and Sewage Department admitted it was a mistake and subsequently charged Lewis the $36 he should have been charged initially. Read more on this story here

George MacIntosh, 73, was charged a staggering £200 for premium-rate gambling texts he didn't intend to sign up for. Unfortunately this wasn't a scam but a legal service from a company called Zamano. It seems the retired vicar had accidentally signed up after responding to an initial text from the company. Read the full story here.
Philip Groves was amazed to receive a £1,411 bill from Vodafone last year for his 10-year-old daughter Trinity's phone. It turns out Trinity had watched 28 hours of instructional loom band videos on YouTube, assuming her phone was using wifi. But the wifi had cut out, leaving her phone using the data allowance at it's highest rate. Vodafone refused to cancel the bill and threatened legal action. Read more here
Daniel Pontin was in for quite a shock after opening a gas bill charging him £31,000 for a year's worth of gas in a one-bedroom home. Pontin claimed his meter was broken when he moved in and was initially charged £35 a month for six months before he stopped receiving bills. When the huge £31,000 estimated bill arrived Npower told Pontin to ignore it while they investigated. Read the full story here

Read Full Story