Time to reconsider TV subscriptions? 98% of most popular programmes shown on free channels

15 March 2017

New viewing figures indicate that 98% of the most popular programmes shown on Sky TV could actually have been watched on free channels.

According to data obtained from the Broadcasters Audience Research Board, which has been analysed by satellite TV service Freesat, of the 1,500 most viewed broadcasts among Sky viewers, just 11 were exclusive to Sky.

These were ten episodes of drama series Game of Thrones and football’s Capital One Cup Final.


However, the most watched programme of the year among Sky viewers was The Great British Bakeoff on BBC1, followed by I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here on ITV1, and Britain’s Got Talent, also on ITV1.

If you’re watching the majority of progammes on so-called free channels, you should consider ditching your subscription service. Research from Freesat recently found that the average UK household pays £528 a year on TV subscriptions and almost half (42%) say they are unhappy with their current deal. For Sky TV viewers, this figure can be closer to £1,000 a year.

Sky upped certain TV prices on 1 March. The provider is, however, launching a dish-less TV service in 2018 .   

Yet since 2010, all TVs have had a service called Freeview built in, which gives you access to up to 70 TV channels for free. You only need to pay if you want access to its catchup, recording or HD services – or if you have a TV doesn’t have Freeview built in.   

Freesat meanwhile, which compiled this data, is also subscription-free. However, for its service you have to pay a one-off fee of £80 to £300 for one of its smart boxes, as well as between £80 and £100 to have a satellite dish installed if there’s not already one on your property.


If you’re adamant you still need a digital TV subscription, check if you could save by switching to a similar service from another provider or try haggling your existing provider’s price down.

Moneywise has asked Sky for a comment to these findings, but we’re yet to receive a response.

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