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BBC boss, Tony Hall, wants iPlayer viewers to pay licence fee

By EchoLauraC  |  Posted: February 27, 2014

  • BBC boss, Tony Hall

Comments (13)

The director general of the BBC has said iPlayer viewers should be forced to pay a licence fee.

Tony Hall wants to close a loophole, which means almost half-a-million will stop being able to watch the public broadcaster’s shows for free.

The current £145.50 licence fee is only applicable to those who watch shows as they are broadcast and does not cover people watching them on catch up online.

Speaking at the Oxford Media Convention, Lord Hall, said he wanted to adapt the fee to the digital age.

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However, it could be difficult to enforce as commentators believe the BBC would be unable to find out exactly who is logging on through phones and tablets because of data protection laws.

He said: "One of the advantages of the licence fee is that it’s flexible and has adapted over the years. It started as a radio licence. Then TV. Then colour TV.

“And then the relatively simple change to the regulations in 2004 to cover the consumption of live TV on new devices such as computers.

“When it’s adapted itself so well over the decades, why would you suddenly give it up?

“When and how best to take the next step is, of course, a matter for the Government.

“Our view is that there is room for modernisation so that the fee applies to the consumption of BBC TV programmes, whether live on BBC One or on-demand via BBC iPlayer.”

Extending the licence fee to cover on-demand shows would mean a change in legislation unlikely to be considered until 2017.

Lord Hall said just two per cent of households, the equivalent of 500,000 homes, were currently using the loophole.

But the BBC fears that number will only rise in the future.

Lord Hall said most viewers were happy to pay the licence fee and said BBC surveys had shown some would even pay more.

He said: “They actually pay around £12 a month. On our most recent surveys people, on average, are willing to pay between £15 and £20 a month.”

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  • riktrik1  |  April 05 2014, 6:46AM

    I am thinking of starting a business selling dartboards with Tony Hall's face on it, I believe it could very well be a commercially viable product.

  • Hadagmaja  |  March 03 2014, 1:41AM

    As a student nurse and single mother I can't justify the £12 a week for a license. HAven't watched any soaps for the last 10 months, I just catch up with the programmes I love on catch-up. An enforcement officer called on me, I happily invited him in, showed him that we only use the TV for the kids DVDs, and that there was no signal. I don;'t miss TV at all, nor do the kids, and plus, I'm doing super well on my course as a result!

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  • TruthSeeker7  |  February 28 2014, 4:39PM

    It isn't a 'loophole'. With over 400,000 households cancelling their tv licence the BBC are getting desperate. The BBC is linked deeply with paedophilia, they have breached their licensing agreement by failing to report in an unbiased and truthful manner. TV Licensing clearly state that a licence is required to 'watch tv as it is broadcast or recorded'. They are nothing but greedy, lowlife scum. They harass those who choose not to watch their broadcasts and therefore do not require a tv licence with letter after letter stating things such as 'The only way you can stop an investigator attending your home is to purchase a tv licence'. Wrong. Put a bloody big dog in the garden and let them try to get past that!!!

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  • MrGarnet  |  February 27 2014, 10:11PM

    What a well fed smug face Hall has. There are lots of them all sucking on our ****!!

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  • RoadWombat  |  February 27 2014, 2:53PM

    Well, the old argument has been that because of the licence fee you don't have to put up with adverts. Now, of course, you don't have to put up with them anyway, as the online services mean you can skip them.

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  • supernova1  |  February 27 2014, 2:32PM

    Thanks for the help peeps. I'd just rather the fee was done away with, full stop. Would stop the profligate BBC!!

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  • Snappy_Happer  |  February 27 2014, 1:08PM

    Dibblebibble is right. Sadly, there are plenty of ill-informed (or badly trained?) police officers who are quite willing to back up a Capita employee if asked. There are various Youtubeclips of such confrontations, and sadly the householder often comes across as a mouthy so-and-so, instead of calmly re-asserting the law.

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  • RoadWombat  |  February 27 2014, 12:10PM

    supernova - As with all criminal legal process, it is up to the prosecution to do the proving. I know that sounds a bit glib, and the truth is that it is likely to be a right old hassle to go down that route, but dibble is basically right in what he says. Having said that, it's really a bit of a non-story as the vast majority of people just pay up anyway. I wonder if there would be a market for tv sets that are designed to only work of the internet and don't take live broadcast? I know you can do that anyway, via a computer, but I mean a "proper" tv (If you get what I'm saying!)?

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  • dibblebibble  |  February 27 2014, 12:07PM

    @super - no such thing as a detector van anymore ;) If CAPITA turn up at your door, (CAPITA are the BBC's agents), they have absolutely NO RIGHTS to enter your property, despite what they may lead you to believe. Also, the onus is on THEM to prove if I'm watching live TV. The fact is, I don't. But it still stands, the onus is on them to prove otherwise.

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  • supernova1  |  February 27 2014, 11:32AM

    dibs....ok, what happens if the detector van turns up, how do you prove you've been watching catchup tv?

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