More than 33,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 25 were caught watching live TV or BBC programmes on iPlayer without a TV Licence in the past year, according to new figures released today by TV Licensing – the companies contracted by the BBC to administer the collection of the television licence fee and enforcement of the television licensing system.
With 78 per cent of undergraduates aged 24 and under, TV Licensing is reminding new students they could face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000 (€1,118) if they are caught watching live TV, or BBC programmes on iPlayer, on any device, without a TV Licence.
Recent research by TV Licensing shows BBC iPlayer continues to be the most used service for catch up and on demand by students, with 82 per cent of students using the BBC platform. The study also revealed more than 50 per cent of students think it would be would be very embarrassing to get caught without a licence.
“With most students owning at least one device capable of showing live TV or watching BBC iPlayer – such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet computer – it’s important they know the law around being correctly licensed. If you’re watching live TV on any device, including mobiles and tablets, or watch catch up programmes on BBC iPlayer, you need a TV Licence,” advised Jason Hill, spokesperson for TV Licensing.
“Students and young adults need to be aware of their legal responsibilities. Anyone caught watching TV without a TV Licence can face prosecution and a fine of up to a £1,000. If students are concerned about paying for a TV Licence, they should get in touch. We know some people struggle to pay, and there are many payment options available, from paying in one go to spreading the cost over the year,” he added.
“If students live in halls of residence and watch live TV or BBC iPlayer programmes in their room, they will need their own TV Licence. Students in shared houses will also require their own licence if they use a TV or device in their room, and have a separate tenancy agreement. Shared houses with joint tenancy agreements require only a single licence for the home,” he said.