Government Considers TV License shake-up

Wednesday 23rd August, 2006
The Government may be considering a big change in the funding of the BBC with a proposed "TV Tax" replacing the existing TV license that has been a requirement in UK homes for decades.

Under the proposal, the existing license fee could be scrapped and an additional levy imposed on bills for "pay-tv" services such as satellite and Cable TV .

The new scheme could see the existing license fee, currently around £11/mth, simply added to the bill of popular services such as Sky ensuring households cannot evade the fee. You simply could not have subscription television services without paying the fee, in much the same way as airport tax is added to flight purchases.

This would obviously leave terrestrial TV viewers who didn't choose a subscription out of reach of the new tax, but this may not be a concern as many of those viewers are over 75 and already eligible for a free license. Additionally, the cost savings of closing the TV licensing offices in Bristol and Darwen that employ over 1200 people could quite possibly offset any missing revenue from existing licenses.

The new uncomplicated scheme would truly leave UK residents a genuine choice of "free to air" services and paid TV, removing the need for expensive TV detector vans and advertising costs and could leave the BBC able to sell their programming on-line to overseas viewers who were happy to pay the relevant tax charge.

  1. 1) Andi Said: (23/08/2006 16:45:06 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Government Considers TV License shake-up

    Right, so people who get Sky/Cable because they don't like what's on the BBC, have to pay for what's on the BBC...

    Freeview suits me fine, so yeah - go for it.. ;)

  2. 2) Dave Harris Said: (23/08/2006 16:53:18 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Government Considers TV License shake-up

    Is it still the case that the Beeb has to maintain the broadcast transmission network across the country? If so, should the funding from that come from sales of dvds and sales of Dr Who abroad?

    Don't think so meself.

  3. 3) Dave Harris Said: (23/08/2006 16:56:39 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Government Considers TV License shake-up

    And Andi, back when I was in the UK, if I wanted proper news, it'd be BBC or C4, certainly not a channel that was only to be found on sky.

    Here, I have BBC World as part of the satellite package, with CNN a poor second. Star News Asiaa, citing the "trusted resources of Sky News and Fox News" - er, no.

  4. 4) Andi Said: (23/08/2006 17:43:48 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Government Considers TV License shake-up

    Dave, I wasn't dissing the service from the BBC and Freeview at all. It more than suits my needs, and I pretty much can always find something to watch. My twin-tuner Media Centre is always busy!

    I'm more than happy to push the only fee I have to watch TV (that and the electricity) off on the those who enjoy watching the rubbish on Sky and Cable. They already have to pay the TV license anyhow - let them continue and I'll have it from free, thanks.

    Viva la revolution!

  5. 5) Ben Rose Said: (23/08/2006 18:22:47 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Government Considers TV License shake-up


    Obviously the BBC have costs involved in pumping their services through cable/satellite, re-developing interactive services for 3 platforms etc. It's only out of courtesy that BBC digital is made available on the additional platforms so I don't see it unreasonable to make those viewers pay more additional costs.

    Besides, Sky/Cable viewers get the benefit of free terrestrial services outside of their primary viewing room...e.g. on a bedroom TV.

    @2 - Dave, I believe the BBC still maintain the terrestrial networks but (I think) pay a fee for broadcast across other systems. I know ITV had to pay a considerable fee to use the subscription/encryption on the Sky satellite system, without which they would have to pay royalties for the whole of Europe when broadcasting a film.

  6. 6) Ben Rose Said: (23/08/2006 18:23:31 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Government Considers TV License shake-up

    @3 Dave - I think Star is owned and run by Rupert Murdoch's son, no suprise they use Sky!

  7. 7) Dave Harris Said: (24/08/2006 09:41:36 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Government Considers TV License shake-up

    Ben, you're right, and it's used as a battering ram to gain access to markets out here through the sports channels, plus the standard US 'entertainment' (sitcoms, *Idol and the like).

    Astro, which is the actual broadcaster, is not part of NewsInt, since Malaysia was worried about being beholden to an outsider, and one with an agenda so contrary to local interests, so it did its own thing and charges Star an access fee.

    Ok I was watching RockStar last night, you got me

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