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Government may extend TV licence fee to cover BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer

The Government is considering plans to extend the TV licence fee to cover BBC iPlayer – and other catch-up TV services such as the forthcoming YouView.

Currently British viewers must pay £145.50 for a television licence if they watch or record programmes as they are broadcast, whether on a TV, computer, mobile phone or tablet.

However, viewing programmes after they have been broadcast on a catch-up service such as iPlayer does not require a licence, as you can read here.

With a rapidly growing number of internet-enabled TVs (IPTVs) and set-top boxes hitting the market, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is considering an overhaul of the licence fee to bring it into line with new technologies.

A spokesman says: "The Government is aware of developing technologies and the changing viewing habits of those who watch television programmes. How the BBC is funded as these issues evolve is a matter the department will need to address in the near future."

The BBC insists that no changes are needed, pointing to its own research showing that only 0.2% of households watch only catch-up television, with no live viewing, each week.

A BBC spokesman adds: "We believe the current system works very efficiently and do not see a need to change its scope at present."

What do you think? Should iPlayer remain outside the TV licence fee? Let us know in the Comments box below.

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