BBC licence fee

The BBC a British institution. Love it or Loathe it?

Back to news

Image by tookapic from Pixabay

No other broadcaster in the world has had such a diverse, exciting and long history. The BBC celebrates its centenary in 2022, but what are the public’s views on the BBC Licence fee? We asked our consumer panel in a Flash Poll.

It's a crime

Powered by Data Pad

We asked if non-payment of the TV Licence should remain an offence.

A quarter of our panel (25%) agreed that it should and those in older age groups or living in higher income families were more likely to agree, but 68% felt that not owning a valid licence should not be a criminal offence.

Licence fee

The current licence fee is £154 (£52 for black and white TV sets) for both homes and businesses, and you must have a TV Licence if you:

  • Watch or record programmes on a TV, computer or another device as they’re broadcast
  • Download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on-demand

What’s covered

A single TV Licence covers all of the following in a single property:

  • TV sets
  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Mobile phones
  • Any other device that can receive a TV signal

You do not need a TV licence to watch:

  • Non-BBC programmes on online catch-up services
  • Videos or DVDs
  • Clips on websites like YouTube
  • Closed-circuit television (CCTV)
Powered by Data Pad

We asked our panel to think about the varied services that the BBC offers including radio, BBC iPlayer and online services and asked if the licence fee represents value for money or not?

31% said yes, it is value for money and 69% said no and felt that it is not. Those who feel the TV licence is not good value for money were overwhelmingly against (82%) making non-payment a criminal offence.

How should the BBC be funded in future?

We asked what people think should happen to the method of funding the BBC in the future.

Powered by Data Pad

Almost half (47%) felt that BBC funding should move to a subscription model like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, although our youngest panellists (18-29 year olds) were the least in favour perhaps suffering from subscription fatigue.

People who think the licence fee is good value for money are strongly against changing to a subscription-like model (just 9% support) while it is the preferred option among two thirds of those who think the TV licence is not good value. This polaritygit b supports the idea that people feel forced to pay for a service they would not choose to subscribe to.

1 in 8 (13%) thought that it should come into the Treasury with an additional tax payment from everyone. Some people were happy to keep the current fee but drop the criminal offence (11%) or to keep it entirely the same (13%).

The BBC has a rich history, and the sum of its parts adds up to more than just EastEnders and Strictly Come Dancing or a way to fund Gary Lineker and Zoe Ball’s huge salaries. The BBC is a worldwide and world-class broadcaster delivering outstanding programming across radio and television.

Not only does a licence fee enable you to watch programmes uninterrupted by adverts but allows the world to stay in touch and become part of one global BBC community.

You can find out more about our Flash Poll services here.

Start your project

Get answers to your questions with FREE entry to UK Omnibus.

Submit your questions