BBC viewers seeking to circumvent paying the monthly license fee by taking advantage of a loophole that allows content to be watched for free on iPlayer are facing a September crackdown after the government pushed through legislation.
This back door to access is estimated to cost the BBC as much as £150m per year in lost revenue but from next month (! September) all households watching BBC content will be hit by the £145 per year charge irrespective of their chosen medium.
A TV licensing spokesperson said: “Fewer than 2 per cent of households only watch catchup – and only those watching BBC iPlayer as part of their catchup and on-demand viewing will need to buy a licence from September. You will not need a TV licence to download or watch programmes on demand from other providers, such as YouTube, Netflix, ITV Hub, All 4 or Demand 5. All unlicensed households are being mailed and a publicity campaign will happen before 1 September.”
The new changes will also affect anyone accessing BBC programmes via catch-up services such as Sky, Virgin and BT – although the fee will not be levied against similar on-demand services for ITV and Channel 4 despite both falling under the existing license fee for live terrestrial broadcasts.