British Turn To Streaming As 2.8 Million Claiming They No Longer Need To Pay TV Licence Fee

A man holding a phoe looking at his TV licence online

Viewers are turning to streaming rather than pay the TV licence fee. Credit: TV Licensing/Twitter

THE BBC is facing a revolt from millions of television viewers who are no longer willing to pay the television licence fee.

A record 2.84 million people now insist they are no longer obliged to pay £159 for the annual charge because they don’t watch BBC channels or any kind of live TV.

This figure is an increase of more than 360,000 in the previous twelve months.

Toby Young, the Founder and Director of the Free Speech Union told the Daily Mail: ‘These figures show that the TV licence fee is not a viable funding model for the BBC going forward.

He added: ‘The obvious alternative is to become a subscription-based service like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Given the BBC’s global brand recognition and its reputation for producing premium content, it could become the largest and most profitable streaming service in the world.’

Last year TV Licensing (TVL) which collects the licence fee on behalf of the BBC sold 23.50 million licences.

The BBC earned £3,741 million from the licence fee in 2023 compared with £3,800 million the previous year.

At the same time the public service broadcaster is also having to deal with an increase in licence fee evasion from people who are eligible to pay but don’t.

It is believed the current rate of licence fee evasion is costing the BBC £430 a million a year.

Critics of the BBC have long argued that the licence fee is increasingly irrelevant when viewers can subscribe to the streaming services provided by the likes of Netflix, Disney and Apple TV.

Although the latest figures make gloomy reading for the BBC it can still take comfort from the fact that nine out of ten UK adults use the BBC each week.

A BBC spokesperson said: ‘The overwhelming majority of households – approximately 9 out of 10 – are licensed and receive brilliant BBC programming and services across TV, radio and online for 44p a day”.

“Licence fee revenue is holding up well and has fallen by just 1.6% in the last year despite the pressures of increased choice in the market and the rising cost of living faced by all media organisations”.

“Our focus is ensuring we continue to find new ways to serve all audiences”.

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Written by

Jo Pugh

Jo Pugh is a journalist based in the Costa Blanca North. Originally from London, she has been involved in journalism and photography for 20 years. She has lived in Spain for 12 years, and is a dedicated and passionate writer.


    • M

      07 August 2023 • 11:57

      Pay per view would sort out this antiquated policy, and then the BBC will see the exact figures willing to tune in to the channel.

    • William Hughes

      07 August 2023 • 17:48

      I object to the BBC using the Licence Fee as their own bank account paying obscene wages such as 1.3m to Gary Linaker for hosting a programme for 1 hour a week, and paying one of their news readers £350,000 for 3 days work and a total if 12 hours on radio which I never listen to.

    • William Hughes

      07 August 2023 • 18:26

      If the BBC were to go pay to view they would be bankrupt in about 6 months. As I have stated before using the fee as their own bank account, the repeats are getting more and more and the money is still going to people who work maybe 20 hours a week, I am a pensioner (80) getting about £1,000 a week and have all the normal bills to pay and i dont watch BBC becayse ive seen most programmes while the use of the fee is being used obscenely.

      • Jase

        08 August 2023 • 08:52

        Where have you seen these shows already ? The licence is free for over 75s in receipt of Pension credit. You’re on £52 k a year so probably too rich to get pensions credit though

    • Robert Faraday

      07 August 2023 • 20:23

      RE: Mr W. Hughes..
      “I am a pensioner (80) getting about £1,000 a week”..

      I am gobsmacked to hear about such a high amount of pension. I wonder if all your employees or under Directors all have the same amount of pension?

      • Howard

        08 August 2023 • 18:38

        I am sure that Mr W Hughes means £ 1,000 a month not a week.

    • Les

      08 August 2023 • 08:09

      The BBC has now become a game show channel and a repeat channel with nothing too exciting in the middle

    • Anonymous

      08 August 2023 • 09:30

      The BBC send letters to intimidate people who don’t own a license.

    • rob

      08 August 2023 • 09:47

      The BBC is a self serving and obsole service. Yes, they have a few series that are good, but with over 3 billion from stealth enforcement of licence paying they should have! Why it still exists is beyond me and paying 44p is far to much for a generally mediocre service, that unless you want to be hounded by Television Licensing as if you were a criminal, you will pay under duress!

    • John

      08 August 2023 • 10:09

      Why do we have to pay the BBC to watch all the other channels who pay their own way. Shocking.

    • Stephen nield

      08 August 2023 • 12:50

      Do away with the tv licence. We live in the 21st century not the 20th century when bbc was created

    • John

      08 August 2023 • 17:33

      It’s disgraceful that the BBC charge pensioners £159 for a TV licence. Shame on you.

    • Jacqueline Drew

      09 August 2023 • 10:51

      Repeats and more of them. Then there are the quiz / game shows giving obscene amounts in prize money, that and the astronomical salaries payed to some of their presenters. My husband is over 80, I am in my seventies , the only reason we watch bbc is no adverts, we are not into streaming, so watch more DVDs than tv these days, but still we have to pay the license fee. We have just over the limit in pension between us not to be able to get pension credits.

    Comments are closed.