Those without a licence fee will soon be prevented from watching catch-up TV on iPlayer for free, says culture secretary John Whittingdale.

Speaking at the Oxford Media Convention, Whittingdale told delegates he would bring forward the necessary legislation in the current parliamentary session. The licence fee will be extended to cover more than just those watching conventional TVs.

At the moment only UK TV licence holders can use the iPlayer to watch live BBC broadcasts, but anyone without a licence can still view the shows later on catch-up.

Whittingdale said: "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."

The culture secrtary added: "Giving a free ride to those who enjoy Sherlock or Bake Off an hour, a day or a week after they were broadcast was never intended and is wrong."

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: "We are happy to have reached an agreement with the Secretary of State on how to close the iPlayer loophole. Its swift closure will help give the BBC funding certainty."

More after the break

MORE: BBC iPlayer review 


sonycentre's picture

BBC given the go-ahead to end free viewing on iPlayer Read more

It's a good move,why should people expect everything for free? programmes cost lots of money,people have to be paid.The BBC produce some of the best tv in the world.for the sake of a few pounds a week you have BBC radio(including local stations) and tv.'s picture

People don't expect

People don't expect "everything for free".

People expect not to have to pay for services that they don't use.

If you want to watch "some of the best TV in the world" then that is fine.  Just don't expect me to subsidise it for your benefit, and I won't expect you to subsidise my viewing habits.



johnjay's picture

BBC Greed

Totally agree, previous ridiculous comment aside, We already pay for a TV licience. Why should I have to pay a licience fee just because I'm unable to watch programmes at the original broadcasted time,  I watch catch-up services at the weekend because I am out 60hrs a week earning the money to pay for my TV licience.

Nice salesmanship for the BBC there "sonycentre". Way to go for the people... You are missing out on your call... as a Politician.

ArTourter's picture

well I am probably way too

well I am probably way too cynical for my own good, but to me it is just the starting to force the tv license on internet users as a whole. They have been trying to do this for a while now. I guess the ultimate goal is to have the license paid by users of netflix and amazon video or other video on demand sites as well.

I very much doubt that this move will force iplayer only users to get a tv license. It is only going to push them to other sources for their content (legal or not).

Most BBC shows these days are paid by BBC worldwide anyway so why should they get paid twice. Parts of the BBC website is already locked to UK user and only reserved to international users.

The whole speech from Whittingdale is also misleading. The TV license is not for watching the BBC. it is for watching live TV whether one is watching the BBC or not. And the rest of the speech which whf does not mention was to go after users of adblocker comparing them to "pirates" which to me is going way way too far. For a start many online ads are carrier for malware or other tracking software or resource hogging flash things which will crash you browser.

AlbaBrown's picture

All ties in quite nicely with the Snoopers charter...

So this combined with measures to ensure ISPs keep internet history records of every user for each year, it will be childsplay to track and fine people.

As long as they make it mandatory to sign in with your TV licence number (rather forcing the licence on every internet user) I won't mind. 

Considering what passes for entertainment, "impartial" news coverage, and education on TV nowdays they can stick their services.

My 50" Fujitsu has no onboard tuner (only use it for BDs), and as I (currently) don't use a VPN, and find the prospect of binge watching Netflix etc incredibly sad, so if this is rolled out for all internet users, this is just yet another stealth tax.