Can you justify the licence fee in 2015?

TV licence The licence fee is a bugbear for many and again, it is coming under attack, this time with the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee saying that, as it stands, the current subscription system isn't really justifiable.

As you'll know, it is mandatory for anyone who has a TV to have a TV licence if you're going watch live broadcasts, and it costs you £145.50 every year. You'll also know that loads of people don't pay it on principal, for a whole host of reasons.

The MPs have knocked their heads together and said that the way we pay for the BBC is likely to change in the next 15 years.

"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.

It looks like this notion has come about thanks to the change in attitudes to the way people watch things, with more people utilising subscription services like Netflix and Amazon TV. With catch-up TV services, you don't really need a TV licence to watch them. That means we could see the BBC having shows behind paywalls.

The report also suggested that it might be an idea to change legislation so that it is no longer a criminal offence if you don't have a TV licence. "We recommend that as a minimum the licence fee must be amended to cover catch-up television as soon as possible," added the report. Maybe the BBC could move toward a HBO model, as seen in the States? Either way, it looks like things are getting shaken up with licence fee.


  • Martin
    Can you justify 39p a day for what we get? What a stupid bloody question.
  • Fat H.
    There's no fucking way I'm paying those cunts for 15 more years of cooking, dancing, singing and ice-skating shows that never get watched! TV is pretty much dead already, it just doesn't know it yet.
  • Phil
    The license fee is worth it for Radio 4 alone.
  • pedant
    A correction. The licence fee is mandatory if you watch live television, not if you own a TV. If you own a television but do not watch live television, you don't have to buy a licence. Also, if you don't have a television, but you watch live show (say, on your computer or tablet), then you _do_ need a licence.
  • cheech
    "As you’ll know, it is mandatory for anyone who has a TV to have a TV licence" Come now, BW. Let's not spread this misinformation. It's only mandatory if you have a TV and are viewing live broadcasts. Anyway, one answer would be to continue the licence fee but lock catch-up services for the broadcast channels behind a paywall, with everyone who pays for the licence given a login automatically and everyone else getting access on a pay-per-view basis.
  • No c.
    @ Phil... Fuck off! Secondly, there is wrong information on the article: "it is mandatory for anyone who has a TV to have a TV licence and it costs you £145.50 every year. " You don't need a TV licence to own a TV. You need to use it to watch live broadcast. If you use to watch DVDs and playing games you are fine! NEVER PAID... never will!
  • Jessie J.
    Not when the BBC make fucking millions from selling the programs we pay for them to make. Bang, bang into the room!!
  • Boysie
    The article is wrong, it is not mandatory or the law to require a TV license if you have a TV. If you watch live feeds on the TV then & only then do you need a license.
  • Bob
    You dont need a TV License for owning a TV you need it if you watch or record Live broadcasts. So at the moment its legal to watch Netflix etc without one. As for including Catch up in the TV license, well its just not enforcible. Despite all this talk over the possibly scrapping the license fee, its never going to happen, the BBC has grown into a 4 Billion pounds a year monster with 10 executives paid more than the Prime Minister. It has the power to topple whichever party is in power.. The License Fee will never be scrapped unless its changed to something more beneficial to the BBC.
  • Joe R.
    @ Moff Gimmers, you said: ............ As you’ll know, it is mandatory for anyone who has a TV to have a TV licence .................... Get your facts right before publishing. It is not mandatory for anyone who has a TV to require a licence at all. It is, however, mandatory for anyone who, VIEWS A LIVE BROADCAST, ON A TV, FROM ANY TV COMPANY. Not the same, is it? Still journalists aren't known for getting facts right.......... are they?
  • Goon
    Do some research on the quote below. Simply not true. "As you’ll know, it is mandatory for anyone who has a TV to have a TV licence".
  • LD
  • bill
    I agree with Bob +1 Bob
  • Rhi
    If they had a decent streaming library then I'd think about it, but to be honest 30 days or whatever it is for a handful of mostly crap on iplayer just isn't good enough. And I wouldn't watch live even if I could because outside of sports it's a backwards way to watch TV. I can get Netflix and APIV for a few quid more than the price of a TV license, and get stuff delivered quickly in the bargain. And look- there's a smattering of BBC programmes on there. Bugger all but still more than you can get if you're just a license payer (i.e. none unless they've been on in the last month). They can swivel. Sorrynotsorry.
  • The S.
    I was gonna say that you don't actually need a license to ... No, wait...
  • Martin
    Don't forget that if you want the end of the license fee then anyone that is too tight to pay for the fee but is used to getting all the shows for free will get a nasty surprise. If the license fee goes then you'll need a subscription to watch them all! Bang goes your free content.

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