BBC TV Licence Fee is Becoming "Harder to Justify", Say MPs

By Gerald Lynch on at

The BBC licence fee is again under scrutiny, with the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee stating that the system does not have a long-term future.

The TV licence is mandatory for any TV owner in the UK, and costs £145.50 per year. But the committee's MPs have warned that the current system is likely to be replaced within the next 15 years, with each household potentially paying a compulsory levy instead.

"In the short term, there appears to be no realistic alternative to the licence fee, but that model is becoming harder and harder to justify and sustain," said committee chairman John Whittingdale.

Much of the change focuses on the shift towards catch-up TV services, which currently do not require a TV licence to view. Future fees could be broken down into different subscription types, focussing on offline and online viewing, or potentially putting selected shows behind a paywall.

Other suggestions that the committee made include changing legislation so that not having a licence fee is no longer a criminal offence (based on the potential introduction of the levy), and making a more defined gap between the BBC and its regulator, the BBC Trust. [BBC]