BBC iPlayer license fee overhaul could close online loophole


By John Glenday, Reporter

October 31, 2011 | 1 min read

The government is considering changes to the BBC license fee that would close a loophole whereby those watching TV via online catch up services can do so without the need for a license.

At present British viewers are required to stump up £145.50 a year to watch or record live programming via television, computer, mobile or games console.

Services such as BBC iPlayer are exempt from this licensing requirement, a fact which has not gone unnoted by officials mindful of the accelerating growth in popularity of such services – driven by a glut of internet enabled set top boxes.

When services such as the BBC’s own YouView launches it is predicted that a wave of people will claim to not watch television as it is transmitted, choosing instead to swerve the charges by watching online.

A Department for Cultuire, Media and Sport spokesperson said: “Government is aware of developing technologies and the changing viewing habits of those who watch television programmes. How the BBC is funded as these issues evolve is a matter the department will need to address in the near future."


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