The so-called ‘iPlayer loophole’ is set to be closed on September 1st. From the beginning of next month, you’ll need to have paid the £145.50 per year TV licence fee in order to use the BBC’s catchup service.
The new rule covers all devices you can access iPlayer through, including smartphones, laptops, desktops, tablets, TV streaming sticks and boxes and games consoles.
The move doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, with former Culture Secretary John Whittingdale -- who was clearly a student a LONG time ago -- earlier this year saying, “When the licence fee was invented, video on demand did not exist. The BBC works on the basis that all who watch it pay for it. Giving a free ride to those who enjoy Sherlock or Bake Off an hour, a day or a week after they are broadcast was never intended and is wrong.”
Previously, you were only required to have a TV licence to watch live broadcasts through iPlayer, with catchup content and downloads free to gorge upon.
Whether iPlayer will hide behind some form of TV licence barrier or not remains unclear. Relying on people being truthful and hitting an ‘I haven’t paid the fee actually, sorry’ button would surely not cut it.
Despite the iPlayer rule change, demand services from other TV channels, such as ITV Hub, All 4 and Demand 5 will remain free to use. Here are the best arguments for and against the licence fee, and our top tips for BBC iPlayer. [BBC]