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

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."

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.