The BBC is home to so many of our most-loved TV shows, from gripping dramas like Killing Eve to entertaining competition programmes like Strictly Come Dancing. Traditionally, it’s been funded by an annual licence fee, but this could potentially change in the future, according to one Conservative MP.
John Whittingdale, who was formerly Media Minister before the cabinet reshuffle in autumn, said ‘core’ BBC services such as the news and children’s TV would still be funded by the tax payer through a government grant. However, any additional content like sports would require an additional subscription fee, similar to the way we pay for other streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Speaking to iNews, the MP explained: ‘Instead of £159 a year, it would be a reduced amount to pay for the things an insufficient amount of people would be willing to pay for – news, current affairs and arts programmes.
‘On top of that, two-thirds of the current fee could be a voluntary subscription (for populist programming). You wouldn’t have to pay it.’
One million licence fees have been cancelled over the past two years, which former Culture Secretary Whittingdale described as ‘warning signs’.
‘That decline in licence fee numbers will only grow,’ he said. ‘The younger generation is much more attuned to the idea of on-demand TV.’
He also predicted the BBC may have to cut back on content, including some of the highly-anticipated dramas and thrillers we love watching so much.
The drastic change to licence fees would only come into place once the government has rolled out the universal coverage of super-fast broadband. This would enable households to watch programmes on the internet rather than via traditional television.