As of today, all users of the BBC iPlayer will require a TV license to use it legally, regardless of if the content they view is airing live or not. Previously, users were able to view any already aired content through the iPlayer legally without the need for a TV license, with only live TV being restricted by law to those who own a license. However, with the modernised system, the rules have changed.

This change is likely to affect the younger generation, especially students, who are more prone to viewing programmes through others means than just live television, such as apps on Smart TVs, mobile phones and games consoles, as well as the website. As of now, the law is enforced via a pop up that will appear if the user attempts to view a programme on the iPlayer, reminding them that they need to have a TV license to watch any content by law. It is unknown currently how this law is intended to be upheld, but a TV licensing spokesperson told the BBC that “We have a range of enforcement techniques which we will use and these have already allowed us to prosecute people who watch on a range of devices, not just TVs.”.

BBC tv license

This marks a major change in the BBC iPlayer, which has allowed free catch-up TV to all since late 2007. A BBC spokesperson claims that around 94% of households are already covered with a TV license, meaning that most will be unaffected by the change. One of the biggest denominations that will likely be affected, however, will be students. With the academic year beginning, the TV Licensing website has now included a section aimed towards university students explaining the change in laws. The section claims that currently, 63% of students use BBC iPlayer, but it remains to be seen if the change in the law will promote more students to pay the TV licensing charge, or if they will just stop using BBC iPlayer.



By Andy Oates

I grew up loving films, TV and comic books and not much has changed. Find me on social media - @Oateyboat