BBC licensing fees: pros and cons

Nadine Dorries has warned that the BBC’s next announcement of royalties “will be the last” as the national broadcaster prepares for multi-billion pound funding cuts.

In one tweet yesterday, the culture secretary said it was time to “discuss and debate” new ways of funding “great British content”. She is expected to confirm this week that the annual cost of a BBC license will remain frozen at £159 for the next two years, before rising slightly for the next three.

The BBC’s Royal Charter – which is agreed with the government and sets out the structure of the consortium for the next ten years – will then be renewed in 2027. And Dorries’ comments signal a funding model new will be found to replace license fees, paid by viewers for access to all BBC Live TV programmes, BBC iPlayer, BBC radio, BBC podcasts via the BBC Sounds app and more so more.

The expected changes have raised concerns about the “long-term financial future and editorial independence of the public service broadcaster under the Conservative government”, it said. Guardians. Licensing fees accounted for £3.52 billion of the company’s total earnings of £4.94 billion for 2019-20.

But in recent years, the BBC has seen a decline in the number of TV rights sold, as younger audiences in particular turn to streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+.

The National Audit Office reported last year that the average amount of time TV viewers spend on BBC radio has fallen from 80 minutes a day in 2010 to 56 minutes in 2019.

Match of the day presenter Gary Lineker, the BBC’s highest-paid star, also question future of the annual license fee and call for it to be done voluntarily.

Advantages of fees


BBC does not need third-party commercial advertising to generate revenue and has remained ad-free since its inception. This is perhaps the most commonly cited benefit of a television license.

In 2016, then-general manager Tony Hall pledged that the BBC “will never run ads” in the UK because it would “harm the country’s broader news and radio ecosystem”. “.

“We have a good ecosystem in this country, ITV and Channel 4 are broadcasting public service but are funded by advertising, and Sky already has subscribers. That kind of work and I don’t think we’re going to get into the advertising market,” he said.

Quality broadcast

An editorial in Guardians in 2018 argued that thanks to the BBC, “this is the right time for audiences” and that there has never been “a lot of high-quality material to watch, whenever we like”.

Our “passion for content” shouldn’t “blind us to the preciousness of the BBC”, which has “taken artistic risks to create innovative, radical and innovative work for nothing” interests of a private company operating for profit,” the paper said.

A variety of celebrities have also praised the broadcaster over the years. During a 2019 debate in Congress on license fees, Tory MP Julian Knight said that “when one travels around the world and watches TV, radio and media services, Otherwise, one will find that the BBC is absolutely first class.”

Independent Editor

The licensing fee allows the broadcaster to be “independent and separate from the initiatives of governments, campaigners, charities and their agendas, regardless of clearly worthy causes such as how or to what extent their message appears to be accepted or not objectionable”, BBC tutorial status.

Notice to the public

Some observers believe the BBC is an important tool in ensuring that everyone in the UK has access to fair, unbiased news.

Sirena Bergman warned in The Independent that “access to objective information is critical to the democratic process,” adding that a media organization without third-party interests would “at least be considered trustworthy.” than for-profit alternatives”.


Not democratic

Critics say it’s unfair to force people to pay for a service they don’t use often or disagree with politically.

“When you can stream your library of millions of shows on your laptop or tablet, it feels a bit backwards to sit down and stick to the TV schedule someone else has decided for you.” write Sunby George Harrison. “The fact that, by default, people are forced to pay the BBC fuels their Europhile tendencies by providing it with no incentive to actually engage with the British – or produce any programmes. any kindness for that matter.”

No representation

In 2018, then Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn floated the idea of ​​allowing BBC license fee payers to elect national broadcaster board members, Politics reported. Currently, they are appointed from within.

He said: “A proposal that would simultaneously reduce government political influence over the BBC while empowering the workforce and license fee payers. “That will see a number of elections to the BBC’s Board of Directors positions, for example chief executive officer and non-executive director by license fee payers.”

Too focused

Some critics expressed concern about the lack of BBC funding for the UK’s minority languages ​​and cultures.

In 2019, a 68-year-old woman was arrested after she was revealed to be one of a group of about 80 people in Wales who had stopped paying their TV licenses due to the BBC’s lack of representation of Welsh culture.

The non-payment campaign was led by language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, according to Guardians, believes that Wales is “maliciously served by the media to damage the Welsh language and its democracy and culture”.

Presumptive tax

Bergman of The Independent argues that license fees should be “removed in favor of progressive taxation, whereby a percentage of your income tax on your income goes directly to the BBC’s treasury”. .

“The reason we have an alternative license fee system is because the British public struggles to get around the concept of paying more for something you can use less of for the benefit of society as a whole, despite although this is the basis of welfare. state something that we want to appreciate in this country,” she added.

Too expensive for viewers

LoveMoney has argued that the fine for not paying the BBC is an “impossible charge” for low-income earners, who are “more likely to be made for evading license fees”.

“The problem is that they can’t afford the £145.50 TV license fee either,” the site said.

Too expensive for BBC

Love money also argues that the current permit collection system is inefficient and too costly for a funded public institution. “Administrative costs are expensive” and could easily be “saved by using a different funding model,” the website says.

Official data shows that in 2019/20 the cost of licensing fees was £119m out of £4.49bn in total income. The collection cost was £103 million the previous year.

However, from June 2020, the BBC ended its policy of giving free licenses to all over-75s, which costs the company £750 million a year.

Too outdated

John Sergeant, the BBC’s former political correspondent, said last year that licensing fees had become “increasingly backward“. He told Radio Times that “the case for royalties, a form of poll tax, has been gradually eroded” by rival services offered by Netflix and Amazon. BBC licensing fees: pros and cons

Fry Electronics Team

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