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The number of TV licenses has fallen by 82,000 in five months to the lowest figure since 2015

TV licenses drop by 82,000 in five months to the lowest since 2015 as younger viewers turn away from the BBC to Netflix and Amazon Prime

  • In the five months to March, the number of TV licenses dropped by 82,000
  • The number of homes that pay the compensation is now 25,525,000
  • Streaming services like Netflix, Disney + and Amazon Prime Video – which don’t require a licensing fee – are all much cheaper than the £ 157.50 TV license

Tens of thousands of Britons are dropping TV licenses because the BBC is warned that it is in danger of losing a ‘generation of viewers’ to online streaming services.

In the five months to March, the number of licenses dropped by 82,000 to the lowest since 2014-15, the BBC announced in a request for freedom of information.

The number of homes paying the fee is now 25,525,000, compared with 25,607,000 in November, the Times revealed.

A crackdown on circumvention and an increase in population have led to a steady increase in licenses over most of the past decade – but the last two years have seen a sharp decline that could jeopardize the broadcaster’s future.

Regulator Ofcom had recently said the BBC was at risk of losing a ‘generation of viewers’ after finding that less than half of 16-24 year olds watched the traditional live BBC for an average of one week.

Tens of thousands of Britons are dropping TV licenses as the BBC is warned that it is in danger of losing a 'generation of viewers' (photo: BBC studio in London)

Tens of thousands of Britons are dropping TV licenses as the BBC is warned that it is in danger of losing a ‘generation of viewers’ (photo: BBC studio in London)

Streaming services like Netflix, Disney + and Amazon Prime Video – which don’t require a licensing fee – are all much cheaper than the £ 157.50 TV license.

The company warned last year that the popularity of subscription services means that the “ working environment is increasingly challenging for TV licenses. ”

THE COST OF STREAMING SERVICES

Amazon Prime Video costs £ 7.99 per month.

Netflix plans start from £ 5.99 a month.

Disney + offers options of £ 5.99 a month or £ 59.99 a year.

A TV license costs £ 157.50 per year.

It added, “The latest BBC research suggests that younger viewers have experienced the biggest change in the way they consume content, which has led to a significant decline in licensed activities.”

Company executives reportedly hope that its response to the coronavirus crisis – which has led to an increase in website traffic and news program ratings – will help win any argument about the value of the national broadcaster.

But reports indicate that income is expected to drop £ 125 million this year during the coronavirus crisis.

A BBC spokesperson said, “The BBC is the most widely used media organization in the UK. Ninety-one percent of the adult population – and eight out of ten youth – use the BBC weekly.

Streaming services like Netflix, Disney + and Amazon Prime Video - which don't require a license - are all much cheaper than the TV cost of £ 157.50 (shown: 'Joe Exotic' from Netflix's hit Tiger King)

Streaming services like Netflix, Disney + and Amazon Prime Video - which don't require a license - are all much cheaper than the TV cost of £ 157.50 (shown: 'Joe Exotic' from Netflix's hit Tiger King)

Streaming services like Netflix, Disney + and Amazon Prime Video – which don’t require a license – are all much cheaper than the TV cost of £ 157.50 (shown: ‘Joe Exotic’ from Netflix’s hit Tiger King)

Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May in The Grand Tour, on Amazon Prime

Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May in The Grand Tour, on Amazon Prime

Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May in The Grand Tour, on Amazon Prime

Although the number of current licenses has been around 25 million in the past ten years, it has increased in recent years, but of course there will always be fluctuations and the March figures will include some people finding it more difficult to pay during lockdown. The audience is coming to the BBC with millions, as we have seen in recent weeks with a record audience for iPlayer. ‘

WHO SHOULD BUY A TV LICENSE?

Currently, a license must be purchased by anyone who watches or records television shows while being shown on a TV or who is viewing or streaming live programs on an online television service.

This also applies to those who watch iPlayer.

But TV shows downloaded or streamed after a broadcast on other catch-up services are acceptable to watch without a license.

Last month, the BBC warned that decriminalizing the evasion of TV licensing costs would cost them £ 1 billion in five years, leading to a ‘significant’ number of programs.

In response to a government consultation, the broadcaster told ministers that viewers would suffer if the revenue stream were to be cut.

The current system makes it a criminal offense to watch live television or recorded TV without a license. Those who do this can be prosecuted.

If the license is decriminalized, two alternative civil systems have been proposed.

One is a civil penalty model similar to the way fines are imposed for parking fines, and the other is a civil debt settlement where the money is recoverable from the civil courts.

But a new system would initially cost the BBC £ 300 million and then £ 200 million for the next four years – meaning the broadcaster would lose over £ 1 billion.

Estimated annual costs in excess of £ 200 million take into account “an increase in avoidance, costs of implementation and transition to a new system, and ongoing additional operational costs by running it.”

Instead, the BBC recently suggested that, instead of paying the license as a standalone fee, the fee could instead be added to broadband accounts. And in another attempt to stick to the current system, threatening those who don’t pay the fee with legal action, it warned that a new civil system would “hit the poorest hardest” without “discretion” about its size of the fine.

The new system would also have a “significant impact” on people on low incomes, because the “threat from bailiffs” or “impact on credit ratings” will have “serious consequences,” the broadcaster said.

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