Mayor of London Boris Johnson says it's hard to justify ‘the full whack’ of the BBC licence fee

Boris Johnson has called for the scrapping of the BBC licence fee during a radio interview in which he admitted he never watches linear news on television.

Speaking on LBC radio, the London mayor claimed that the BBC needs to change if it wants to survive a rapidly changing media environment which sees the old-school fee having to compete with subscription services from media rivals such as Netflix.

Marking in his view a slump in the value of linear TV, Johnson admitted that he doesn’t “watch TV news anymore” as he “gets it all on the web”.

He said the broadcaster will have to adapt: “The BBC needs to think about its future, I happen to think there is a case for having a very high standard of broadcaster.”

However, he questioned "whether you need the full whack of the licences fee" to fund a broadcaster such as the BBC, adding that there "does need to be change" at the corporation.

"I was struck that the parliamentary committee said the licence should be prolonged for another 10 years. That seems to me to be too long," Johnson said.

The comment was sparked by a statement from BBC director general Tony Hall yesterday, saying: "The most important thing is that the committee [gave] the licence fee at least 10 years. I think it will go beyond that but they said 10 years."

Hall endorsed the current revenue stream so much that he added: "If we didn’t have a BBC funded by a licence fee, such is the world we face, we’d have to invent it.”

This comes after Bob Wootton director of the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) last week claimed the license fee was "out-dated" instead suggesting a move to a subscription model.

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