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Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Culture Secretary Pledges to Close BBC iPlayer Loophole

The Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale MP, has pledged to close the so-called 'iPlayer loophole', which currently allows TV viewers to enjoy on-demand content without a valid TV licence.

The BBC estimates that TV licence-free viewers of on-demand services will cost around £120m in lost revenue by 2020.

Speaking at the Oxford Media Convention, Mr Whittingdale indicated that legislation to close the loophole could be in place by the summer Parliamentary recess.

Mr Whittingdale said: "When the licence fee was invented, video on demand did not exist.

"And while the definition of television in the legislation covers live streaming, it does not require viewers to have a licence if they watch BBC programmes through the iPlayer even if it is just a few minutes after transmission.

"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.

"Having discussed this with the BBC and the BBC Trust, I will be bringing forward, as soon as practicable, secondary legislation which will extend the current TV licensing regime not only to cover those watching the BBC live, but also those watching the BBC on catch-up through the iPlayer."

That last sentence perhaps leaves a glimmer of hope that the legislation may not extend to all broadcasters' online catch-up services.

Mr Whittingdale also discussed the threat posed to advertiser funded online news content by the rise in adblocking services.

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Anonymous said...

Bet they try to extend to all streaming like Netflix, Amazon Prime and youtube. Well I have a youtube channel and I think we should sue the BBC for restraint of Trade by demanding someone pays to view my intellectual property that is sod all to do with the BBC.

Chris said...

Actually anon I bet you're not far off the mark. I can see the license being replaced with some kind of household "media tax" which is then carved up, with the BBC, Ch4, etc being beneficiaries. This would go towards covering infrastructure for streaming services, in otherwords subsidising BT too. Nice and simple, and everyone pays whether they consume the services or not.

Steven Gibb said...

No more Abbott and Jones Show aka Question Time,I'm fecking devastated.....

Anonymous said...

Well it will be interesting watching this go through Parliament. Starting with how they define what 'Catchup TV' actually is. And then I do wonder if it gets passed, whether it will result in any more TV licence sales.

Anonymous said...

Well we all predicted that this would happen sooner or later. Interstingly the ITV tried for pay per veiw around xmas time to watch the like of downton abby and the like, but that failed. Who is going to pay for content now! Personally I can just see more cloud providers pirating the content as already happens now. No one cares if the have to wait a few months for it to be available. Basically the licence fee is old news and out of date, and they know it now. Well they did ride the gravy train until the end, but its a dieing beast now.

Fred Bear said...

According to the Telegraph it will only apply to the BBC's catch-up services on iPlayer.


4oD and ITV player and other such services would not be affected.

Death To All Juice said...

Easiest and fairest way of doing this would be linking iPlayer access to a TV license pin number and your IP address. Meaning this being 21st century Britain we'll probably have legislation in place for a universal media tax before the summer's out.

Anonymous said...

They can pass whatever new piece of legislation they want. If they do end up lumping it in with other stuff like council tax etc, I will simply not pay the extra. I'm single, no children, no debts, no mortgage (but renting) and I'm quite happy to go to prison in defiance. Bring it on ya feckers!

Anonymous said...

A devastating report into child abuse at the BBC last week.....

and they get rewarded with an extension of the licence fee this week.


ColinP said...

The major loophole that needs to be closed is the one that sees the BBC gaining large sums of money from people who have no desire to use their services at all. For them to complain about "freeloaders" is sheer hypocrisy.