iPlayer may soon be covered by TV licence fee
31st Oct 2011 | 13:04
Ride on the gravy train coming to an end
The BBC iPlayer and other catch-up on-demand services may soon be covered by the TV licence fee, if plans being mulled over by the UK government come to fruition.
Although all the UK's television channels are covered by the £145 annual bill, online on-demand services are not – this means you could be watching all the Eastenders you want online without paying a penny for it.
That's in spite of the fact that BBC iPlayer is part funded by the licence fee (66p per licence sold is spent on the service), although the BBC argues that only 0.2% of UK households solely watch TV on catch-up services.
The new plans would require anyone using iPlayer or any of the other terrestrial catch up services to hold a TV licence, whether they're watching on a computer, tablet, smartphone or via a set top box.
It didn't go as far as to confirm that the licence fee will definitely change, but a government 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."
However, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said last year that the government was "not going to introduce a PC licence fee" – to suddenly do so would prove quite a U-turn.
From The Guardian