BBC iPlayer catch-up viewing now requires a TV licence: what do you need to know about the changes?

Updated: 


            	BBC iPlayer to change: Loophole explained

It's all change in the TV world, as viewers now need a TV licence to watch or download BBC programmes on demand through iPlayer.

This put an end to a loophole which had allowed the viewing of programmes after they had been broadcast without the viewer having a licence.

While this won't affect the majority of the population, of which 94% of households have a licence, a small number may be impacted.

Here are the key things you need to know about the new legislation.

BBC iPlayer

What are the new restrictions on watching TV programmes on iPlayer?
As of September 1, those wishing to watch on demand shows - including catch-up - will need to have a valid TV licence.

How is this different from before?
There was a loophole which allowed people to view previously broadcast shows on catch-up without having a licence.

Why do people need a TV licence?
In the UK, it is a legal requirement to have a licence to watch or record live TV programmes on the BBC and all other channels.

How much is a TV licence?
The fee is £145.50 for 12 months for a standard colour licence and £49 for a black and white licence. This can be paid weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly.

Can BBC shows be watched on other services?
Netflix - which has a monthly subscription fee - broadcasts several BBC series, including Happy Valley, Luther and Sherlock.

What is the cost of Netflix compared with a TV licence?
After a free monthly trial, a Netflix Premium account costs £8.99 per month. A TV licence costs £12.13 monthly if paid in instalments.

What if you watch iPlayer on devices other than a TV?
The new legislation applies to all viewers wishing to use the service, whether that's on a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or Blu-ray/DVD/VHS recorder.

Will students be affected?
Students are likely to be the most affected by the changes, as they are believed to mainly watch TV shows by catch-up on a variety of devices instead of TVs. No longer will they be able to watch programmes for free on catch-up using iPlayer.

iPlayer loophole closed

Students living in halls of residence or in shared accommodation are required to pay for a TV licence if they have a single tenancy agreement, but if a shared house has a joint tenancy agreement, just one licence will be needed between all occupants.

What is the punishment for watching iPlayer without a TV licence?
Someone using the service without a licence faces prosecution, a fine of up to £1,000 and additional legal fees.

What about other TV-on-demand services?
Britons will still be able to watch programmes on All 4, the ITV hub, Demand 5 and Netflix, among others, without a TV licence. They will still have to pay subscription fees applicable to some of these services.