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This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

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Sunday, 19 January 2020

BritBox: Joint BBC/ITV Venture Slammed After it Emerges US Viewers Get More for Less

The BBC has been accused of ripping off viewers, after it emerged that US viewers pay a lower rate for on-demand service BritBox compared to their UK counterparts.

For the princely sum of £5.99 a month viewers can enjoy a selection of the BBC and ITV's most dated programming at the push of a button (just as they currently can by tuning to BBC Two or ITV3).

The plan, certainly from the BBC's point of view, is to relocate vast swathes of archive content from the iPlayer and distribute it, at a price, via the new platform.

The BBC has previously tried, and failed, to digitise its programme archive. That little experiment, called the Digital Media Initiative, was abandoned at a cost of £100m to the TV licence payer. We predict that Britbox, which is proving pretty unpopular compared to market leaders Amazon Prime (30 day free trial, click here) and Netflix (30 day free trial, click here), will end in the same outcome sooner or later.

New programmes will also be made specially for BritBox, with the first arriving later this year. Other existing series to be made available will include Victoria, Happy Valley, Les Miserables, The Office and Benidorm.

Many viewers, who have loyally (or submissively, depending on your perspective) paid their TV licence fee for decades, are outraged that BritBox effectively makes them pay again for access to programmes they have already subsidised.

Tweets at the launch of Britbox, included the following gems:
- "I have paid the BBC licence fee for 41 years, I calculate over £4,000 cost. And now they think I'll pay £72 a year to see programmes I paid for in 1978?"
- "Genius idea from the BBC - force an entire country to pay a yearly licence that they have no choice about, then charge them £5.99 a month to watch the shows that should be included within the price."

It has now emerged that US BritBox subscribers get more for their money, owing to a licensing arrangement between the US-version of the site and retail giant Amazon.

Sam Packer, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Charging Brits to watch shows they already pay for each year via the licence fee is ridiculous."

We agree entirely.

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