Sky’s NOW TV Shakeup: Free Trials Get Axed

This post may contain affiliate links*

In a notable shift, Sky’s NOW streaming service (formerly known as NOW TV) has put an end to its free trials for the Cinema and Entertainment packages.

These 7-day trials, which had been a staple for new customers looking to test the waters, are no longer available (at least for the time being).

This move by NOW reflects a larger trend in the streaming industry in the UK, with other major services like Netflix and Disney+ also discontinuing their free trials.

As competition intensifies and the market matures, it appears that streaming services are focusing on other strategies to attract subscribers (such as cheaper ad-supported plans).

So, what does this mean for potential NOW subscribers? If you were counting on a free trial to explore NOW’s offerings, it’s time to re-evaluate.

Up until this week, NOW was still running a promotion where customers were able to buy a discounted 6-month Entertainment Membership – and get a 7-days Cinema trial along with it.

NOW Cinema Membership
Photo: NOW

But that promotion has been replaced – and as of this writing, the only free content trial remaining for NOW’s customers is the hayu one – which gives you 7 free days (there’s also a free trial for the NOW Boost add-on).

Meanwhile, on the plus side – NOW’s £12/month Bundle is back – with the same annoying catch as before (see full details below).

NOW on devices formerly NOW TV

NOW is Sky’s long-running standalone streaming service that doesn’t usually require a long-term contract and works as an app on many supported devices.

Last year, Sky launched Sky Stream, which is also a streaming service from Sky – but one that only works with the Sky Stream puck, and has a different interface (and pricing scheme) – See our Sky Stream VS NOW comparison.

NOW offers three main content packages (“memberships”):

  • NOW Entertainment, normally at £9.99/m, with Sky’s TV channels, including Sky Atlantic, and content for kids.
  • NOW Cinema, normally at £9.99/month. Identical to the Sky Cinema plan on Sky, with new blockbusters and back-catalogue films.
  • NOW Sky Sports, normally at £34.99/month. Almost identical to Sky Sports on Sky (with Racing, Mix and News being part of this membership instead of Entertainment).

Then there’s NOW Boost, which costs £6/month. It’s an add-on which adds Full HD (1080p) video quality, Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, no adverts (for on-demand content – you’ll still see adverts on Sky’s live channels), and the ability to stream on up to 3 devices at the same time (instead of just one).

NOW Boost

NOW is available on a wide range of streaming devices, including Amazon’s Fire TV, Roku, Google’s Chromecast, mobile phones, tablets and more (see our full NOW review).

Looking For A NOW TV Free Trial? It’s Gone

For years, NOW has offered free 7-day trials for new customers. These were a great way to lure new subscribers in – and also, of course, a great way for some to binge-watch a full series for free, in less than a week.

Those free trials – for the Cinema and Entertainment memberships – are now gone.

It’s possible they’ll return in some form as promotional deals from NOW change – but for now, the only way to watch Sky’s NOW memberships (other than hayu) is to pay up.

Free Streaming Trials Disappearing All-Around

NOW isn’t the only streaming service in the UK that has pulled the plug on free trials. For a long time, free trials were almost a given with streaming services, allowing users to dabble with the content before fully committing.

It’s been an effective way for companies to lure in customers – especially when streaming services were a novelty. But that’s changing.

Notably, two of the biggest players in the streaming arena, Netflix and Disney+, have also followed suit. Netflix, which had been synonymous with its 30-day free trial, discontinued the offer several years ago.

The service is now subscription-based from the get-go, which means if you want to dive into the world of Stranger Things or The Crown, you’ll have to take the plunge without a test run.

Streaming services on phone prime netflix disney 1200
(Photo: Deposit Photos / Miglagoa)

Similarly, Disney+ had a 7-day free trial when it first launched. The trial was handy for those eager to explore a plethora of Disney classics, Marvel epics, and Star Wars sagas. However, that ship has sailed, and now, to access Disney+, you need to subscribe outright.

On the flip side, there are still a few services in the UK holding onto the free trial tradition.

Amazon’s Prime Video, for instance, offers a 30-day free trial. Of course, with a Prime subscription, you receive other benefits, like free next-day delivery on Amazon purchases.

Additionally, Paramount+ is another contender that offers a 7-day free trial. With Paramount+, you can dip your toes into a sea of content, from hit shows like Star Trek (every generation included) to an archive of Paramount films.

(Photo: Deposit Photos / Rafapress)

Instead of free trials, some are moving to ad-supported schemes. Amazon has Freevee, which is a free streaming service (with adverts), and Netflix has its “Standard with Ads” tier – which isn’t free, but is cheaper than the basic Netflix tier (And there’s also some speculation that Amazon may add an ad-supported tier to Prime Video).

When it comes to adverts, NOW TV does the opposite – it comes with ads already baked in, and if you want to remove them – you have to pay more, for the NOW Boost addon.

NOW’s £12 Offer: Pay Less, Sign Up For Longer

A new deal that’s available until June 29, 2023 (and is identical to a deal we saw in March) offers both the Cinema and Entertainment memberships for one discounted price – but there’s a catch.

NOW was always known for being a service with a rolling, monthly contract that you can cancel anytime. It still is – but this month’s offer (which is optional, of course) – switches things up a bit.

Previously, if you wanted to enjoy both NOW Entertainment and NOW Cinema, it would set you back £19.98 per month. However, you can now bundle these two for a significantly reduced price of just £12 per month, and this deal extends for a period of six months.

However, there is a critical detail in this offer that is different from most previous NOW deals. While it may sound like you have “up to” six months to enjoy this deal, it’s actually a commitment of a “minimum” of six months.

This means that you’re tied into this deal, paying £12 per month, for the entire six-month duration.

NOW June 2023 offer
NOW’s June 2023 offer

You can technically cancel early – but if you decide to terminate your subscription before the six months have passed, your cancellation will only become effective after the conclusion of the six-month term.

Essentially, this means you’re on the hook for the £12 per month, irrespective of when you choose to cancel within that period.

Once those six months are up – your subscription will auto-renew at full price, so you’ll start paying £19.98/month (or more, if the prices happen to change by then). Before that happens, however, you can cancel your subscription.

Along with this offer, you also get a 1-month free trial of NOW Boost – which will then renew at its normal £6/month price – but you CAN cancel boost before those 30 days are up, as it’s not a part of the six-month minimum term.

Is This A Good Deal?

The whole point of cord cutting and streaming TV, in my eyes, is the flexibility that you get – subscribe to Netflix for a couple of months, then cancel and switch to Disney+, then get a month of NOW to watch that one show you’re interested in… and when you go on holiday, or you’re having rough financial times – just cancel everything.

Long-term contracts with minimum terms take away that flexibility.

Cord cutter tearing up TV contract

If, however, you’re definitely planning to be a NOW subscriber for six months or more (for both Entertainment and Cinema) – then you might as well subscribe to it at the discounted price.

But there are almost always offers and discounts for NOW – so signing up for six months in advance – will be questionable for many.

For more news and updates on streaming TV deals, don’t forget to Subscribe to our free newsletter.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

man watchin streaming tv on tablet

Get Cord Buster's Free UK TV Streaming Cheatsheet


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get TV And Tech News

Get Bonus Streaming TV Guide