TV Licensing

nlogax

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- BBC Weather website / app (my only BBC web use left, sadly News and Sport went downhill badly)
In recent years the BBC News site has come to resemble a slightly more corporate version of Buzzfeed. I imagine that was probably the intention, but still..yuk.
 
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dgl

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Classic FM?

(Anyone else find it funny the way you can seem to pick up Classic FM literally anywhere, even where no other radio station can be found?)
Part of that is due to it being the only nationwide commercial radio station and is actually owned by the company that own most of Britains TV/Radio transmission sites (Arqiva) and as such will have similar broadcast transmission levels as the BBC stations and on similarly high transmission structures, though they don't have the same level of relays that the BBC have.
Plus Classic FM has another important function as it transmits TMC data used by satellite navigation and the like to show traffic alerts and act accordingly where necessary, see http://tx.mb21.co.uk/mapsys/google/stationmap.php?stid=492&svtid=5 to see where there transmission sites are located.
 

jfollows

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I challenge you to find the output from Radio 3 anywhere else.
I consider the fee worth it for Radio 3, Radio 4 and the World Service. I know there's no licence fee for radio any more, but I can afford the TV licence fee and console myself that it's going towards the parts of the BBC I actually use.

However I refuse to go along with the begging letters to get a "virtual" TV Licence which I get all the time, if I'm going to pay the money the least I want is to put them to the effort of posting me a paper licence.
 

JamesT

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The TV Licence is there to pay for programming that would not be commercially viable for any other channel. It's called Public Service Broadcasting. For example can you see ITV producing a serious programme for rail enthusiasts? (I don't mean lightweight stuff like C5's Paddington 24/7 with fake suspense etc) They wouldn't because it wouldn't attract ad revenue. The BBC could though, using licence money. And if enough people campaigned they would have to. There are many other minority interests catered for by the beeb too that could not sustainably fund themselves through advertising. The Sky at Night, Radio 3, etc.

The likes of Strictly actually turn a profit through overseas rights sales.

However I do think the licence fee model is now outdated. There are too many other sources of content. Subscription won't work, as there would not be enough income to produce the programming. Nor would the US style public television tin rattle. Perhaps a broadband levy? Or stick it on the council tax like they do in France..
All the terrestrial broadcasters have Public Service Obligations put upon them in return for the right to broadcast. I’m fairly sure most of the commercial broadcasters would quickly bin their news operations (especially the local bit) if it wasn’t a requirement. So they’ll subsidise the obligation from their profitable programming.

Is there any reason to believe a future BBC without a licence fee wouldn’t work in the same way? You just need to make sure the PSO is written so they have to produce enough public service programming. The current model hasn’t prevented cuts to local news in the past, with more coming soon.

Why wouldn’t a subscription produce enough income? Would you expect a large drop off in people willing to pay for the BBC if they were no longer compelled by the threat of criminal sanctions? There is also the matter of the licence fee not being the entirety of the BBC’s income. Maybe they’d be more motivated to sell abroad to a greater extent if their home income wasn’t as secure?

If there’s specific programming that wouldn’t otherwise be produced, perhaps the Government (or other appropriate public bodies) could procure it directly rather than putting conditions on the licence fee. The World Service was funded by the Foreign Office for many years as an example.
 

curly42

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I've never owned a tv set,but I estimate I get several letters a year (and have done for maybe the last 40 years or so) asking why I don't have a licence.

They all go in the bin. Never had a visit from anyone asking to have a look.
 

nlogax

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However I refuse to go along with the begging letters to get a "virtual" TV Licence which I get all the time, if I'm going to pay the money the least I want is to put them to the effort of posting me a paper licence.
Not sure I understand the resistance to reducing pointless pieces of administrative paperwork. I've had an online TV license for the best part of fifteen years - it's entirely problem-free.
 

Howardh

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I've never owned a tv set,but I estimate I get several letters a year (and have done for maybe the last 40 years or so) asking why I don't have a licence.

They all go in the bin. Never had a visit from anyone asking to have a look.
If your mobile and/or PC can receive live broadcasts, such as BBC, YouTube BT, Sky or NowTV, even if never used, should a TV licence be needed?
 

JamesT

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If your mobile and/or PC can receive live broadcasts, such as BBC, YouTube BT, Sky or NowTV, even if never used, should a TV licence be needed?
A licence is only required for watching or recording the live broadcasts. Just being capable isn’t enough to make you liable for a licence.
 

curly42

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Don't have a mobile,so that's no problem,and my PC doesn't have sound.

I've never even tried to get a tv program with the PC - might give it a go to see if it works.
 

Baxenden Bank

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I've never owned a tv set,but I estimate I get several letters a year (and have done for maybe the last 40 years or so) asking why I don't have a licence.

They all go in the bin. Never had a visit from anyone asking to have a look.
I suspect that you actually get 13 letters per year. One every four weeks, regular as a Swiss Railway. Until recently there was a 'set' of standard letters, varied each time and eventually repeated but not to a noticeable pattern:

Letters headed, in BIG red letters:
  • As you have not responded to our letters yet
  • Investigating x. Enforcement Officers visit homes in your area
  • Local investigation active in x
  • Official warning: we have opened an investigation
  • Official notice: investigation opened
  • We're giving you 10 days to get correctly licensed
  • Will you be in on x
  • You know, we know
  • Your address has been scheduled for a visit by an enforcement officer
  • Official notice: Under investigation
  • Are you in breach if the Communications Act 2003?
Not at all threatening.


This year, they must have had someone in to devise a new set:
  1. Your IN 01 O 0 A 3
  2. Please act now
  3. Are you watching?
  4. Your attention is required
  5. Act now to stop an investigation
I did have a visit once.
TV Licensing: Our records show that this address does not have a television licence:
Me: I'm pleased to tell you that your records are 100% correct.

TV Licensing: Do you have a television?
Me: That's none of your business.

TV Licensing: Thank you very much, and off she went!
 

Baxenden Bank

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The BBC lost quarter of a million licence payers last year as people are voting with their feet, according to Rees-Mogg.
The problem is, as fewer people pay, the pressure for some kind of 'everyone pays' system will increase - such as a property based levy. The BBC is incapable of reducing it's bloated, high salaried culture. Layers of management arranging meetings with themselves to determine what the next round of meetings should be about. After that one, very illuminating, year when salary costs were published in the accounts it has managed to hide most of the 'talent' salary costs within the production subsidiary. So long as people (essentially) have no choice but to pay, the culture will continue.
 

ainsworth74

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The BBC lost quarter of a million licence payers last year as people are voting with their feet, according to Rees-Mogg.
Rees-Mogg: BBC ‘stealing Ovaltine from pensioners’ with licence fee charges
They really are shameless aren't they? The Government used to fund free TV licences for over-75s. They decided to stop doing so and therefore handed the bill the BBC who either had to blow a very large hole in their finances or start charging those that previously got it free (yes they can blow smoke around it being part of the charter agreement but let's be real here). You can argue whether or not the BBC should have eaten the cost internally or not but lets not pretend that the BBC woke up one day and decided to just start charging pensioners. There's some serious Government generated cause and effect at play here.

Then again one can hardly expect anything different from this Government and Rees-Mogg can they :rolleyes:
 

jfollows

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They really are shameless aren't they? The Government used to fund free TV licences for over-75s. They decided to stop doing so and therefore handed the bill the BBC who either had to blow a very large hole in their finances or start charging those that previously got it free (yes they can blow smoke around it being part of the charter agreement but let's be real here). You can argue whether or not the BBC should have eaten the cost internally or not but lets not pretend that the BBC woke up one day and decided to just start charging pensioners. There's some serious Government generated cause and effect at play here.

Then again one can hardly expect anything different from this Government and Rees-Mogg can they :rolleyes:
Yes, but what's ironic about this is that the BBC decided to continue free licenses for over-75s provided the household included someone over 75 in receipt of Pension Credit. It then turns out that a lot of people over 75 aren't aware of Pension Credit, or are aware of it but choose not to claim it. As a result, the additional over 75s who are now claiming Pension Credit in order to maintain their free TV licenses, which they formerly didn't do for whatever reason, adds up to a bigger bill to the taxpayer than the saving earned by offloading the funding of free TV licenses for over 75s in the first place.

I don't blame the BBC for attaching this requirement to their free licenses, it makes it appear that they're doing something for the less well off, and they probably are, but to me this looks like a calamitous unexpected consequence of the original decision, at least if it were originally intended to save money.
 

py_megapixel

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All I am going to add to this is - when you see the dire state of US Television be grateful for the BBC and gladly pay that fee for a license.
Not been over there but I do see quite a few clips from US TV - it does seem rather dire.

In particular, adverts (which I did a thread about last week) seem an awful lot more intrusive.

 

jfollows

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Completely off the BBC topic, but on the topic of unintended consequences, I think the DVLA managed to lose millions when it set out to save millions by abolishing the paper tax disk.
 

Merle Haggard

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I haven't had a TV for years (because, for a number of reasons, I resented passing money to the BBC). I have always replied to every letter from 'TV Licencing' even though one possible reason for not having a licence - not having a TV - has never been listed as a possibilty in the documents sent.
I did, however, get a small amount of satisfaction when answering the question 'Will you be getting a TV in the future?' by saying 'Yes', and when subsequently asked 'when?' I scrolled through the helpfully-provided calendar (which goes a surprisingly long way into the future) and clicked the date that was my 75th birthday.
But even that opportunity for mild anarchy has now been lost...
 

Darandio

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Not been over there but I do see quite a few clips from US TV - it does seem rather dire.

In particular, adverts (which I did a thread about last week) seem an awful lot more intrusive.
US adverts are legendary, especially medical ones which i've seen to be 90-120 seconds long simply as they list side effects!

"I'm John, i've been taking Phospharisil for years. If you take Phospharisil I guarantee it will make you feel great!"

Insert 90 seconds of a lady reeling off side effects quicker than you can hear them before informing you that you may also die after taking this miracle product

"Get Phospharisil now for only $119.99. It may be available on your medical plan"
 

Bletchleyite

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US adverts are legendary, especially medical ones which i've seen to be 90-120 seconds long simply as they list side effects!
German medical ones are entertaining, there seems to be a competition about how fast to say "Zu Risiken und Nebenwirkungen lesen Sie die Packungsbeilage oder fragen Sie Ihren Arzt oder Apotheker" at the end. (For risks and side effects read the leaflet in the box or ask your doctor or pharmacist).
 

Darandio

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It's this kind of thing which makes me realise how vital free at point-of-use healthcare is...
Even funnier when many adverts are miracle products to reduce cholestorol, sandwiched between two adverts (sorry, commercials) offering 5 cheeseburgers for $5 at Wendy's!
 

Merle Haggard

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Really? What are the available options?

That's utterly daft...

Sorry can't quote - I don't retain the paperwork.

I get an email asking me to pay my TV licence or (small print) confirm that I don't have a TV. I email back to confirm that I don't have a TV, and get an email acknowledgement that says I will receive a confirmation by post within ten days.
Ten days later I get a letter from TV Licencing that says 'You don't have a TV Licence, please buy one to avoid prosecution'. It's this letter that has the reasons they suggest I might wrongly think I don't need a TV licence, as well as suggesting that I might have forgotten to renew, but not including not having a TV.
For those without email who receive the letter, there is no address to write to (and it has no sender's address) , only a phone number. I think that it's premium rate ( ??033---) , as I mentioned in an earlier post.
Before realising it was expensive I did have an interesting 'phone conversation. It was along the lines 'I don't have a fire-arms licence, dog licence, music and dancing licence, PSV licence, (and so on) either, but those licencing organisations don't pester me - they just accept that I don't need one. Why do you assume I'm dishonest?'. Unsurprisingly, no answer forthcoming.
 

JohnMcL7

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All I am going to add to this is - when you see the dire state of US Television be grateful for the BBC and gladly pay that fee for a license.
While the medical adverts in the US are irritating (and much more to do with the very different healthcare system), their TV isn't that different to the bulk of the channels in the UK while platforms like Netflix have no adverts whatsoever. I certainly do not gladly pay for a TV license when I don't view any of the BBC content because they've cancelled everything I was interested and thanks to the unique way the BBC is funded, I still have to keep on paying whereas if other platforms pull the plug on what I want to watch then I'll stop paying them.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Couple of letters received in the post today...

First from TV Licensing claiming that my TV Licence (due for renewal end August) hasn't been paid.

Second my bank statement for August showing that my cheque sent to TV Licensing in early August (together with their payment slip) was cashed on 14th August.

Anyone else experienced similar, and how easy was the issue to resolve?
Not sure whether the complaint letter I sent at the beginning of the week did the business, but my (renewed) licence has now been received. :rolleyes:
 

ta-toget

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This is probably getting off-topic from the original post, but one country that used to have a TV Licence is Norway. The licence has now been replaced with funding from the main budget. It remains to be seen whether this causes any changes. The reasons given on the page about the changes (Norwegian) are:
  • That major changes to technology have occurred since the current form of licence was introduced in 1977 (being that services often accessed on media other than TV, which suggests that it was only based on the presence of a TV, not use of NRK's services [NRK is equivalent to BBC]), and
  • That public broadcasting* for all is for the general good of society, and that it has an important function in society. This is to contribute to the whole country getting news, education, and to be an arena for public debate.
* I'm not quite sure how to translate "offentlig allmennkringkasting". Offentlig = public, that everyone has access to; that which concerns all citizens / all of society; that which is related to the public sector (owned/operated/etc. by the authorities). Allmennkringkasting = broadcasting which has an obligation to the state to be available to all, and offer a varied selection of programmes for all viewers.
 

Gloster

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A bit of a rambling post, but hopefully covering some points of interest. I haven’t had a TV for thirty years, but when I moved to my present address seventeen years ago I almost immediately started getting demands from the licensing people. After a year I got a visit from an inspector, who I did let in on the basis that I was establishing the fact that I did not have a TV. The letters stopped...for about a year and then restarted, gradually becoming increasingly threatening. They still appear at roughly monthly intervals. What I particularly objected to was that there was no way of contacting them without spending my money. Stamps or telephone calls may not be expensive, but why should I have to pay to tell someone that I have no obligation to have a contract with that I don’t have a contract with them.

I have just spent a year in a care home which had a TV in each room (some residents could do little more than lie there staring at it). After a period of binge-watching I gradually cut down so that after a few months I was watching the BBC news and little else. Countryfile was just about the only regular viewing: it is a bit of a twee and dewy-eyed townies’ view of the countryside, but Adam Henson’s pieces about farming could be of interest. Otherwise it was a few documentaries and the odd curiosity on Talking Pictures. There were only two accurately titled programmes: The News and Pointless Celebrities. It was a wonderful day when they were able to dig out a remote (probably due to someone in a room with the same type of TV having died) and I could get Radio 3.

I don’t object to the basic principle of a licence fee, although it is a bit of a sledgehammer. The BBC at least makes an effort to be impartial, but not uncritical, and sets a standard that others will be measured against. If it disappeared or was emasculated other stations would be able to let their standards slide and avoid anything that might upset their proprietors or advertisers, who don’t want to upset the (any) government. As with newspapers, you don’t need to dictate what should appear, just hold the purse-strings and the power to appoint your supporters to crucial posts.

End of rant, though I have probably forgotten something that I really wanted to mention when reading earlier posts.
 

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