How much would the licence fee have to rise before you would cancel it?

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Dr Lobster*
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In the news today, a suggestion that next year the TV licence could rise £ 15 to £173 or about £14 per month.

For me, it still represents good value. In the same ballpark as Netflix and Disney+, but, I don’t think it could go much higher.

I don’t watch too much terrestrial tv these days, and don’t listen to any bbc radio, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that - I probably use bbc news online the most out of all the bbc services.

I think if it got to £200 a year, I’d seriously consider binning it.

What about you?
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WillPS
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Dr Lobster* wrote: Mon 04 Dec, 2023 19.00 In the news today, a suggestion that next year the TV licence could rise £ 15 to £173 or about £14 per month.

For me, it still represents good value. In the same ballpark as Netflix and Disney+, but, I don’t think it could go much higher.

I don’t watch too much terrestrial tv these days, and don’t listen to any bbc radio, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that - I probably use bbc news online the most out of all the bbc services.

I think if it got to £200 a year, I’d seriously consider binning it.

What about you?
I binned ours off years ago because we weren't watching much live telly and hardly anything on iPlayer. Technically I still needed it to watch the F1 live but I'd have had no bones about breaking the law by watching a non-BBC paid for service for 3 hours over 22 race weekends.

The Mrs then set it back up not long after I told her even though she watched less live telly/iPlayer than me.

I know it's not a popular view around these parts but I don't particularly treasure anything about the BBC any more. Most of their programming budget is spent on things which commercial broadcasters would happily take and run with. I get that a little bit of popular content is needed but the extent of that stuff vs the actual worthy stuff (that just wouldn't happen if the BBC didn't exist) is just so far from where it should be now that I struggle to see what we'd lose overall by not having BBC television.

I found the notion of Channel 4 being privatised far more troubling, to be honest.

Their election coverage tends to be when I used/trusted them most but even that was tested quite badly during the last general election when their Political Editor broke election law gleefully on air, in an incident they seem to have somewhat successfully hushed up. In general it feels as though the government's influence over the BBC's output has grown since the New Labour era in ways I'm not at all comfortable with.
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Dr Lobster*
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I’d probably agree with that.

I do always turn to the BBC for major events though, but in terms of entertainment I can’t say I’ve watched or looked forward to watching anything on any BBC channel for a very long time. Maybe I last sat down and watched the Jill Dando documentary in 2019.

I also question why they keep so many channels that they can’t fill with new content, BBC2, 3 and 4 could easily be squashed onto a single service supplemented by streaming for the archive stuff.

I find their programming and scheduling lazy too, you just know Christmas Day will be the same as the last god knows how many years, Call the Midwife, Eastenders, Mrs Browns Boys and that’s not to mention daytime that’s been filled with the same stalwarts for years.

The BBC that brought us Blackadder, Not the Nine o’clock news, Bottom, Red Dwarf, the fast show, Noel’s House Party, and all those others that we grew up and loved, has been dead a long time. I’d hate to see it go, but writing this post and thinking about how much I use it, i wouldn’t really miss the programming, and that’s sad.
cwathen
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The first licence I ever bought back in 2001 would be as near as damn it £200 now adjusting for inflation, as such it is currently a bit cheaper in real terms than it used to be. I suppose the question though is do I derive the same value from it now that I did then? Not really.

I now watch almost no live TV. It's really just news, major events and chucking on Pick/Challenge for an hour after a night out at the pub.

News I can get from a website (and in fact, I usually do more often than not anyway) or the radio, major events will be shown out somewhere and late night viewings of car crash TV or some ancient episode of Bullseye can easily be replaced with a bit of Youtube.

The bits of the BBC I most value I don't need a licence for anyway. I guess on that basis I could ditch it without it really affecting me much, but I'm not quite there yet.

That said, I do think the BBC adds value and is a useful thing to keep, but I do think it's time now to move on from the licence fee as a funding model. The argument to do it has been there since 1955, but it's always been retained as the 'least worst' funding option. I think that is fast running out of steam though.

It is now possible to consume a lot of TV without evading the TV licence in a way it wasn't before. And crucially, newer ways of accessing live TV aren't really policeable, nor do I think we would want to live in a world where they were. It's now both easier to be legally licence free and easier to evade it than it's ever been. That can only mean fewer TV licences sold, maybe it's not a critical issue yet for the BBC, but I can easily see it becoming one within the next decade.

I don't think it would actually be that terrible to fund the BBC from general taxation, with charter renewals ringfencing an equivalent amount of money that licence fee revenue currently generates to fund it and the increased tax burden to pay for it then being skewed towards those who can afford it rather than the current one size fits all model of a fee that is small change to one person but a lot of money to the next.

Continued editorial impendence would have to be enshrined. I realise this straight away brings into question how editorially independent BBC News would be if the government is directly funding it, but even now the level of the licence fee, what the fee has to pay for, the continued existence of the fee, and the continued existence of the BBC itself are all controlled by the government anyway. I don't actually buy that there is significant editorial bias (hence why people on the left and right of politics both claim it to be the tool of the other side) but if any can be identified it's towards the government of the day because ultimately the government does wield power over them with the current funding model anyway.

All of that said, I feel somehow it'll continue to be a circular debate which goes nowhere, the next charter will retain the licence and we'll somehow end up in late the 2030s still having this debate.
all new Phil
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I still think lumping it in with council tax is the way forward. Council tax discounts would neatly apply to tv licensing too, plus it becomes a progressive tax rather than what it is now. Bigger houses pay more, seems fair enough. Being part of council tax also gives it that slight distance from the government.

@cwathen your point about how you consume less BBC these days is pretty much where I am too. I made the point over at the other place that it doesn’t need to be all things to all men. It’s fine for them not to do something if there’s a commercial operator doing it just as well. I don’t get this thing of the BBC *having* to cater for everybody.
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WillPS
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all new Phil wrote: Fri 08 Dec, 2023 15.32 I still think lumping it in with council tax is the way forward. Council tax discounts would neatly apply to tv licensing too, plus it becomes a progressive tax rather than what it is now. Bigger houses pay more, seems fair enough. Being part of council tax also gives it that slight distance from the government.

@cwathen your point about how you consume less BBC these days is pretty much where I am too. I made the point over at the other place that it doesn’t need to be all things to all men. It’s fine for them not to do something if there’s a commercial operator doing it just as well. I don’t get this thing of the BBC *having* to cater for everybody.
I think council tax needs reform more than the TV License tbh, it's massively regressive. But in general I agree that some form of community/per-citizen taxation, maybe lumped in with UBI, would make sense.
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cdd
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I don't watch any TV anymore - not even occasionally. I do use streaming services, and I have bought quite a bit of BBC content outright (mostly old comedy shows which I rewatch). I do use its online offerings extensively.

As for the TV license, atm many would accept a universal tax to preserve the BBC, but once most people don't pay it I don't think that holds. I can see the BBC shrivelling away due to underfunding from a dwindling base, with politicans unwilling to make the tax universal due to the backlash. The longer we delay, the worse this gets. Ironically the demographic that watches the most TV (75+) gets it for free.
WillPS wrote:I think council tax needs reform more than the TV License tbh
While Council Tax is a mess, it can easily drift along since it's the status quo and people don't have a choice. OTOH, (if we believe the BBC should be preserved even though hardly anyone watches TV), action was needed a decade ago before it becomes politically infeasible to make it universal.
bilky asko
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The licence fee isn't free for over-75s any more, unless one or more members of the household are over 75 and in receipt of pension credit.
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cdd
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bilky asko wrote: Wed 13 Dec, 2023 17.53 The licence fee isn't free for over-75s any more, unless one or more members of the household are over 75 and in receipt of pension credit.
I stand corrected. Must have hallucinated them backtracking on that!
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Nick Harvey
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cdd wrote: Thu 14 Dec, 2023 12.08 I stand corrected.
You must have been wrong, cdd!
cdd
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Nick Harvey wrote: Thu 14 Dec, 2023 13.22You must have been wrong, cdd!
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