Who didn’t think that this would happen?

Householders could be required to pay the television licence fee even if they do not own a television, under proposals being discussed by the BBC.

Lord Hall, the BBC’s director-general, wants to extend the £145.50 annual fee in response to the growing popularity of iPlayer, which enables viewers to watch programmes on home computers, mobile phones and tablet devices.

Indeed, who didn’t think that this was the purpose of iPlayer in the first place?

If every device (yea, including a smartphone) is something that can receive the Beeb’s output then every device should be covered by a licence, no? Impeccable logic. And, as I say, something I’m sure they thought about as they developed it.

18 comments on “Who didn’t think that this would happen?

  1. And of course its no coincidence that they’ve just announced the extension of the life of programs on iPlayer to 30 days.

  2. So, the existence of an application somewhere on the internet means everyone must pay £145 to a bunch of rent-seeking thieves.

    Fuck off, and when you’ve done that fuck off again.

  3. On reflection I think its a fantastic idea, as long as failure to have a license is a strict liability offense that carries a minimum 6 month jail sentence with no carve outs for the elderly, sick, poor or other special groups.

  4. They are probably looking to Sweden for inspiration, where one already has to pay for the TV licence if one has any device capable of connecting to the internet… which pretty much covers everyone. It’s more expensive than in the UK too, and you get far less for your money…

  5. It doesn’t matter what he wants. The public are against a rise in the license fee and government knows it. It’s an anachronism in the digital era – you can watch what you like and people are often finding that the stuff elsewhere is much better.

    And honestly, £145 for the sort of shit that the BBC produces is scandalous. Look at Thursday night viewing across 4 channels – 2 cookery shows, a soap opera, a documentary (presumably anti-) about porn, repeats of Top of the Pops. a magazine show, some property porn and a 6 year old movie. Oh, and they’ve turned Digby Jones into The New Troubleshooter even though the only business he’s ever run is the CBI.

  6. They should look to Germany, where every tumbledown asbestos-rooved shack with no electricity and out of range of the transmitters has to pay the full TV license.

  7. You can own as many televisions as you want without having a licence. The licence covers the service not the equipment. As it doesn’t and never has applied to the equipment I can’t see this proposal getting anywhere. In any case, decriminalising will leave the BBC with the cost of pursuing non-payers through the civil courts. They will have as much luck as banks and loan companies, which is very little. They will also be terrified of losing a civil case and setting precedents for future prosecutions. There is a perfectly sensible solution, subscription. Just like The Times, HBO and thousands of media websites. The licence fee is dead in the water.

  8. Hmm, a Poll Tax replacement for the licence fee? That went well last time didn’t it? Every chance it would finish the BBC for good.

    Its a great idea!!!!!

  9. In the grand scheme of things I would prefer to see the BBC scrapped and converted into a private company, but only after it’s monopoly status has been watered down so large parts of it should be sold off. As a private company it could use subscription or advertising for funding. If not a private company, then the BBC should be funded by general taxation, that way the poor don’t pay and the rich do pay.

    Taxing every device that could theoretically be used to watch a BBC programme is the worst solution of all. As the BBC license is on the watching of any broadcast, BBC or not, while changing the law to handle every device they’ll also have to change the underlying concept of the license fee. It has never been for the TV itself (AFAIK).

  10. mike power,

    “here is a perfectly sensible solution, subscription.”

    But that’s the last thing the BBC wants because right now, they get a payment from all viewers, regardless of how much they watch the BBC. While you’re watching Breaking Bad, they’re still getting paid.

  11. I pay for some films and programmes that I choose to watch over the web. I choose not to pay the BBC because I am opposed to the constant BBC political bias and censoring (even in News!) – this anachronistic restriction means I am legally deprived of real-time news pictures from alternative broadcast providers.

    The logical solution, already technically proven, is for a BBC subscription service, and to allow licence-free reception from other broadcasters whether on a free or subscription basis.

    Given that fair possibility, if the LibLabCon choose to give only two alternatives, pay the BBC or armed revolt, then the choice is clear.

  12. They’re pissing in the wind anyway. The genie is out of the bottle now and isn’t going back in any time soon. There’s too many ways of connecting to the web, via phones, tablets, laptops, PCs etc, for them to keep tabs on who owns what electronic gadget. Its impossible to keep ahead of it all, and police it satisfactorily.

    Its actually good that they are coming out with this sort of proposal, because their blinkered world view allows for only one option – a top down universal tax, which if they insist on trying to impose will ultimately destroy exactly that which they wish to defend. The status quo can be utterly indefensible, but still survive, precisely because it is the status quo. Inertia counts for a lot. But throw it all up in the air and change things and you will find that there is considerable resistance to the new, despite it not being that different to the old.

    The BBC will only survive in an approximation of its current form if it bends with the forces of change that are assailing it. If it tries to oppose them it will get flattened.

  13. The BBC is such a den of Leftist scumbaggery that not paying the license fee moves from being a way of saving a few quid to a moral act. That aside, we’re always blackmailed with the idea that its output is absolutely sui generis and without it Britain would become a cultural wasteland, blah blah blah, but is there really any evidence of this or is it just special pleading? Most of its programming seems to me (on the occasions I’m in the UK and have cause to watch it) to be indistinguishable from the other channels’. Therefore the only justification for charging a premium is to fund that programming at the margin that a) would not be otherwise made and b) should be made. How large a category is this? Is it worth 145 sovs per year per household?

    I wouldn’t move to a subscription model; I’d go Third Punic War on it. Tear it down, salt the soil, sell Fiona Bruce into slavery, etc..

  14. mike power,

    Purely from recollection it says, (or used to say) that the license was to “operate apparatus capable of receiving televisual signals”.

    So, no, it’s not about the service it’s about the equipment.

  15. @Roule, it is about the service not the equipment. Even the BBC say so. You can own a TV and only listen to the radio and you don’t need a licence. How you get it by the TVL goons I don’t know, but technically you only need the licence to watch any live broadcast via any equipment.

    See this FOI request

  16. They can take the sex n’travel option too.

    If they’re too incompetent to turn the iPlayer into a subscription-only service, thus ensuring that whoever wants their output will pay for it (like every other sodding broadcaster in the known universe), then I know a few ten-year-olds who could show them how it’s done.

    But of course what they really want is the right to levy their own taxes.

    Remind me again, when do we rise up and slaughter them all?

  17. The failure in the logic is tat a TV licence is a licence to receive a TV signal. It is not, and has never been, a licence to receive BBC content. If the BBC don’t like giving away content for free, then they should perhaps stop giving it away for free.

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