More than 80% of Brits unaware of September 1st TV Licence change for iPlayer

Our TV viewing habits are changing. Streaming services such as Netflix are enormously popular and millions of us take advantage of catch-up TV from iPlayer, All4 and many others. In fact if you’re happy to rely on catch-up and streaming entirely you don’t need to pay for a TV licence, saving a cool £145 a year.

This has not gone unnoticed by the BBC. It has been looking at ways to plug the ‘iPlayer loophole’ for some time, and a decision has now been reached.

From the 1st of September a TV licence will be required to use iPlayer regardless of whether you’re watching live or catch-up. Failure to pay can result in a fine of up to £1,000 (£2,000 in Guernsey).

The TV licence requirement applies no matter how you access iPlayer, so as well as the web interface it will impact anyone who uses a games console, streaming box, smart TV, smartphone, tablet or any other device.

However, according to a poll we recently conducted most people are unaware of the impending change. Of the 1000 respondents an overwhelming majority of 82% said they did not previously know about the forthcoming requirement for a license to use iPlayer.

More than 25 million licences were issued in 2015 so most households will already be covered, but that still leaves a potentially large number of iPlayer users who could be liable for a fine.

For the moment though the BBC does not appear to be enforcing the licence by asking for a login, or otherwise linking iPlayer viewing data to paying households. While there are no technical barriers to stop them doing this, such a move is viewed as a slippery slope that will inevitably lead to a subscription based BBC. And that's something the corporation believes would not be in the best interests of itself or its viewers.


  • unhappy

    by J Smith at 16:43 on 27 Jul 2016 Report abuse

    Another free advertisement for BBC TV Licensing

  • neutral

    by BT business broadband deals at 13:33 on 1 Aug 2016 Report abuse

    So What is requirement for a license to use iPlayer?

  • unhappy

    by L at 13:40 on 1 Aug 2016 Report abuse

    If I'm downloading at work and watching catch up on the tube how can they police that as a TV license isn't personal it's based on location :S

  • unhappy

    by Jose at 10:20 on 4 Aug 2016 Report abuse

    I am living in a shared house, but having separate tenancy contracts. Acording to the TV licencing website we, seven, must pay seven additional TV licences. The landlady is paying for the TV licence already and we have a TV in the living room hardly used. Should we tell her to stop paying for the licence since we do not use it and it will not qualify us for streaming iplayer in our rooms legally? Will be legal to stream the iplayer in the living room and therefore make use of the TV licence paid by the landlady?

  • unhappy

    by John at 11:51 on 15 Oct 2016 Report abuse

    Once upon a time they could sort-of detect unlicensed users remotely and they do perform an apparently once-off cursory check on your property if you *tell* them you don't require a license.

    The current policy is pretty much relying on goodwill and a sense of responsibility from the viewers - it's not practical to enforce in full. Staff costs and losing eyeballs on their advertisement income would likely cost them far more than any gain from enforcing £145 yearly licenses and £1k fines that will most likely never be repaid.

    Going subscription based isn't really an option - let's face it, 'standard' TV isn't worth much most of the time, they'd have to tranform everything to survive a subscription model including dumping adverts. There are many other services that would take massive chunks of their viewer numbers if they can compete on the same level.

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