Culture Secretary John Whittingdale confirmed today that the loophole that allows people to watch BBC iPlayer without a TV licence will be closed within months.
Currently BBC iPlayer is freely available in the UK to anyone who visits the BBC iPlayer website and no log in details are required to access the BBC iPlayer via the website. One idea would be for users to log into the website with their TV lisence details.
It is thought that this is mainly aimed at people using mobile devices to acces iPlayer, and should not affect users access BBC iPlayer via Freesat set top boxes, or Sky digiboxes.
Mr Whittingdale said today he would press ahead with changes to the law to close the loophole, which is thought to cost the BBC around £150 million a year.
Speaking at the Oxford Media Convention today, the Culture Secretary said: ‘When the Licence fee was invented, video on demand did not exist.
‘And while the definition of television in the legislation covers live streaming, it does not require viewers to have a licence if they watch BBC programmes through the iPlayer even if it is just a few minutes after transmission.
‘So, having discussed this with the BBC and the BBC Trust, I will be bringing forward, as soon as practicable, secondary legislation which will extend the current TV licensing regime not only to cover those watching the BBC live, but also those watching the BBC on catch-up through the iPlayer.’