Catch-Up BBC iPlayer TV License Fee Loophole May Be Closed

Jonathan Sutton

It has been revealed this week that the UK government is considering closing the on-demand BBC iPlayer licence fee loophole for people who are watching television through catch-up services online. According to British daily The Guardian, officials are considering extending the TV licence fee so that it also covers on-demand services like the hugely popular BBC iPlayer, which many people use to catch up on their favourite shows.

TV licence
On-demand BBC iPlayer TV licence fee loophole may be closed

The measures are being look at by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The licence fee that viewers in the United Kingdom have to pay if they are watching or recording programmes as they are broadcast is £145.50. This is regardless of whether the programmes are watched on an HDTV, computer, video game console, or other viewing platforms.

However, at present the British public do not need a licence to enjoy catch-up services such as the popular BBC iPlayer. With around 153 million radio and TV programmes having been broadcast via iPlayer in September alone, the service and other similar offerings have become increasingly popular among viewers, and it seems that the government believes that this could be a good way to cash in.

Over the coming year, more on-demand platforms are set to be launched, including YouView which is backed by the Beeb. Many believe that this increase in the availability of catch-up TV services will result in a rising number of people watching programmes using this method, while claiming not to watch actual television broadcasts in order to escape the licence fee.

With this in mind, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has said that it is mulling over the idea of extending the TV licence fee to cover catch-up services, adding that the government is aware of consumer habits evolving with the growth of catch-up TV arena.

Source: The Guardian