BBC iPlayer law change takes effect

Date: 01.09.2016     Last updated: 01.09.2016 at 10.13
From 1 September, a change in the law means you need to be covered by a TV Licence to download or watch BBC programmes on demand, including catch up, on BBC iPlayer. The change does not affect the vast majority of households which are already licensed.

The Government announced last year that it would close the so-called iPlayer loophole, which meant some people were able to avoid paying the licence fee and watch BBC programmes for free just because they weren’t viewing television as it was being broadcast.

Pipa Doubtfire, Head of Revenue Management, said: “The change in law will help protect the BBC’s long term income as more viewers consume on-demand programmes and will ensure fairness for those already paying for BBC content. TV Licensing has carried out a targeted information campaign so those who are unlicensed will know about the change. In addition, an advisory notice will appear on BBC iPlayer from 1 September.”

The new law applies to watching iPlayer on all devices including a smart TV, desktop computer or laptop, mobile phone, tablet, digital box or games console. A licence will be needed even if you access BBC iPlayer through another provider such as Sky, Virgin Media, Freeview or BT. If households already have a licence they will not need to buy an additional one.

As before a licence will still be needed to watch or record live TV on any channel, no matter what device you use.

The change was introduced via a Statutory Instrument (SI) which was laid in parliament on 7 July 2016. The SI included the date the legislation would come into effect.

For further details see

BBC Press Office