Should BBC Viewers Who Watch Only Online Through iPlayer be Made to Pay the TV License Fee?

By Gerald Lynch on at

The BBC's iPlayer service was a real game-changer, freeing viewers to watch Eastenders re-runs or the latest Sherlock mystery as and when they saw fit. It was liberating, and not least of all because it offered a loophole through which people could watch BBC programming without paying the license fee.

Today, the BBC has revealed that more than 500,000 households may be watching its programming only ever online through the service, rather than watching live TV broadcasts. It figures that 2 per cent of households are doing so without paying the annual £145.50 license fee. And while that's technically illegal if the show is being broadcast online live, the BBC has no sure fire way of tracking who precisely is watching its shows over the internet.

And so, with the Government now said to be considering a dramatic reworking of the license fee when it revises the BBC charter in 2016, I ask the question: In an age where video streaming is increasingly the norm, should those who only ever watch BBC programming online be made to pay the same license fee as those who only watch live TV broadcasts? Fire off in the comments section below. [Daily Mail]

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