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TV licence desertion could cost BBC £1.4 billion

10 August 2016
TV licence desertion could cost BBC £1.4 billion

Research by broadband and TV comparison site Broadband Genie has found more than nine million Brits could drop their TV licence in favour of streaming services.

Such mass desertion could cost the BBC around £1.4 billion in revenue.

The study found that 30 per cent of people no longer watch live TV.

Price was found to be the most important factor (42 per cent) when it comes to choosing a provider, so the decline in live TV comes as no surprise considering a Netflix or Amazon subscription costs half that of the licence fee.

Eighty-six per cent of participants thought the licence should be cheaper, with 43 per cent saying that content should be entirely free.

Despite this, 73 per cent of respondents still believe that the UK is better off with the BBC in place.

Rob Hilborn, head of strategy at Broadband Genie, said, “The BBC has a fight on its hands to stop users migrating to other platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Instant, who are also now investing heavily in original programming.

“However, it seems the majority of us still believe the BBC provides a valuable service.  The licence fee funds many services outside of just TV programming; and as we saw with the backlash to the BBC Food website cut plans earlier this year, the British public still appreciate the services provided by the corporation.”

In an attempt to claw back lost revenue and stop households accessing BBC content for free, a TV licence will be required to view catch-up content on iPlayer from the 1st of September.

Of the 55 per cent of users that use streaming services, 72 per cent currently use iPlayer to watch catch-up TV. The change to the TV licence could lead to an exodus of viewers, however, with 31 per cent saying they would stop using the iPlayer if they were required pay for a TV licence to do so.

Hilborn added, “This change to the licence fee was always going to happen as the trend towards streaming grows. But the iPlayer, which helped kick-start the streaming generation, is now threatening to destroy the BBC.

“The organisation has identified this as a major problem and moved to shut the door on this ‘loophole’, but forcing users to pay for it could be its downfall.”

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