IF you watch BBC iPlayer, you’re going to have to start paying the BBC licence fee, even if you don’t enjoy scheduled broadcasting or even own a TV. The Beeb announced earlier in the year that it was planning to close the iPlayer licence fee loophole – which meant you could watch on-demand content without forking over cash as long as you didn’t watch shows that were being aired live.
But now, the corporation has announced when the new rules will come into effect. Sadly, you’ve not got long left to enjoy on-demand delights such as The Secret Agent, The Musketeers or Robot Wars without paying for them, as the new licence fee laws will be brought into action on September 1.
This means that iPlayer-enjoying households will now have to pay the same £145 yearly charge as traditional TV watchers, with the Beeb claiming that closing the loophole will generate more than £150 million a year. It doesn’t matter what device you enjoy iPlayer on. Whether it’s smartphone, tablet or console, the cost will still be the same. “As of September 1 2016, a change in the law means you need to be covered by a TV licence to download or watch BBC programmes on demand – including catch-up TV – on BBC iPlayer,” a TV Licence spokesperson told The Guardian. “This applies to all devices. The change will not affect the huge majority of households which are already licensed.” Surprisingly, although iPlayer enjoyers will be lighter of pocket starting next month, those exclusively watching catch-up content from on-demand services such as ITV Hub, All 4, Demand 5 and Netflix will still be exempt from the licence fee – whoo.
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