BBC initiates its attack on iPlayer loophole as licence requirement


The BBC has stepped up its efforts to clamp down on people without a TV licence viewing its catch-up services.

From today (1 September), anyone attempting to use iPlayer will be presented with a message telling them they must have a TV licence even if they are not watching live content.

The move follows on from legislation passed earlier this year which ruled that, from 1 September, it would be illegal to watch BBC iPlayer content with a licence. The public broadcaster will hope that the new law will help it offset some of the £150m deficit caused by an increasing number of people opting out of a TV licence.

It remains unclear how the BBC will enforce the new measures. When users attempt to watch content on the platform the only sign of the new act is a pop-up asking users if they have a television licence. They are not required to enter any details such as address or licence fee number, and do not have to sign in.

The BBC is reportedly considering whether to make it mandatory to sign in to use iPlayer and other services but the reason for this is more focused on personalising the service for users.

A BBC spokesperson said: “There are no plans for people to enter their licence details into BBC iPlayer at present because TV Licensing has a range of enforcement techniques they’ll continue to use. We’ll look at how effective these are before considering whether an extra verification system is required.”

Previous reports have suggested that snooping on Wi-Fi connections could detect whether people are using iPlayer however this would be expensive and potentially illegal.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.