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back to article Paying a TV tax makes you happy - BBC

We're not making this up. TV Licensing™*, the outfit in charge of collecting the BBC's licence fee, has published a new report entitled "TV Licensing Reveals TV Elation Across The Nation". The outfit has created what it called "The National TeleHappiness Index" to measure how, er, happy TV makes people in the UK. There is also a …

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Mushroom

NZ Has No TV Tax

Instead, the public broadcaster is funded from general taxation.

In NZ we also do not get to choose whether we pay those taxes or what it get's spent on generally.

I am a Brit, born and bred, who moved to NZ aged 34. The BBC is one of the very few things I miss terribly. I don't miss paying the TV license fee because to get decent TV here you HAVE to pay for Sky (more than twice as expensive as the license fee, even on a straight dollar-to-pounds exchange rate basis, never mind the lower wages here), where-as in the UK Sky truly was optional because the BBC was such a good service.

And the TV LIcense fee also paid for commercial free, quality radio. And seriously, you don't know how valuable that is until you come to a country where the very idea is alien.

In NZ we also have a public broadcaster that is indistinguishable from the non-publicly owned commercial TV. They both show the same irritating commercials and the standard of output is lamentably poor (with even more lamentably rare exceptions), apart from the shows imported from overseas.

Ironically, the only channels on which you can enjoy commercial free, quality television... are the pay TV subscription services on Sky (SoHo etc).

Hmmm... I wonder if there's a link between what you pay for something directly, the accountability this creates, and the quality you get as a result.

Now there's a thought.

Quit bitching and moaning. You don't know how lucky you are.

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Devil

Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

Not sure how long it has since you've had the BBC, but I for one would not miss it.

The BBC is under as much pressure to achieve ratings as ITV is, leading to puerile TV such as Strictly Come Dancing, Eastenders on most nights, and a general lack of other programming.

Even the cry of "BBC does the best costume dramas" has been lacking of late seeing as ITV has Downton Abbey.

Give me the choice to pay for TV or not, that's up to me, don't force me to pay for 37 random radio stations, that can't support themselves any other way, and however many channels of repeat programming that the BBC put out.

I'd rather spend the £150 on a subscription music service, or put it towards Virgin Media/Sky/Netflix/Etc

That'd be my choice. Think how much money it would SAVE not having to chase people without a licence who probably can't pay the fine anyway

(And the devil logo as it's the closes to rose tinted specs I could find)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

"Quit bitching and moaning. You don't know how lucky you are" :-D

I was just thinking of Spike Milligan in Monty Python's "Life of Brian" , when he is hung up in the dungeon and saying to Brian "You lucky bastard, coming here moaing ..... " ....blah blah blah .

:-D

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Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

Ireland is the same - the public broadcaster is RTE and is analogous to the BBC yet it shows adverts. In their defence they do show a lot of "public interest" stuff but there is a sense that they're not exactly rewarding the tax payer's investment to the extent they could.

Anyway on the subject of TV licences, I think the best thing any government could do for it's revenues is change it from a TV licence to a media licence and make it opt-out rather than opt-in. I.e. every household is charged the licence as a tax by default and if they don't want it then they must explicitly sign a form to opt out. It would be far easier to collect revenues, enforce and prosecute. More people paying would mean there would be less pressure to increase it too.

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Paris Hilton

Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

"I don't miss paying the TV license fee because to get decent TV here you HAVE to pay for Sky [...], where-as in the UK Sky truly was optional because the BBC was such a good service."

While I'll defend public broadcasting to the end, is the above statement not a matter of opinion and preference? For many the BBC doesn't offer a service they want, especially once they started losing various sports to Sky. For the first time I'm considering it after a season without full F1 coverage for example, but I accept not everyone would feel the same.

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Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

Australia also funds the ABC out of general taxation. When I lived there some years ago, ABC TV was (is?) ad-free. The ABC's commitment to regional radio is impressive, plus there a couple of decent-ish national stations. Nothing quite up to the standard of Radio 4, though some of Radio National (plug for Robin Williams and the Science Show, better than anything on the Beeb). 2BL, the main ABC radio channel for Sydney, is rather reminiscent of BBC Radio Oxford in terms of content.

So, perhaps Blighty should make a similar move? Personally, I think not. The naked threats to the ABC from politicians at election time - give me coverage I want and like, or I'll slash your budget if re-elected - are unedifying in the extreme, and the fact that they feel able to make those threats openly is Not Good.

And oh God, the commercial channels. Ads every 10 seconds, imported series slashed to ribbons to fit the ads in.

The licence fee is not a great system. But to me it looks an easy winner in the least-worse stakes.

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Unhappy

Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

In south africa, the public broadcaster is supported by license fees AND taxes, usually because the idiots running the broadcaster blow millions (actually its now billions) on fancy cars, high salaries and other job perks. What makes it worse is that it acts as the Department of Propaganda for the ruling regime.

All of you should shut and be thankful.

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Happy

Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

It looks like Jolyon Smith and I have swapped places, it must be part of some programme to keep the world from spinning off it's axis.

NZ used to have a similar system to the UK but the smaller pool of licence fee payers wasn't sufficient to fund what was essentially a copy of the BBC. They had to add commercials to the NZBC channels to make up the funding shortfall, for a while they had the worst of both worlds. I guess you could say they still do but at least they don't have a separate licence fee.

I think the BBC is great but I hate the licence fee, the collection policy is very aggressive and it must be very inefficient to run a whole extra tax system to fund one goverment department.

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Facepalm

Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

Quit bitching and moaning?

How about if you lived here, I charged you a tax for using my washing machine regardless of whether you used it or not? Sound fair? Sounds ludicrous?

The BBC should not be publicly funded - period. The only reason everyone keeps bleating on about quality programming is because of the fecking obscene amount of tax payers money it receives. Even I could create a bloody tv station with that amount of cash each year.

How the hell can it possibly be fair for a person to be charged for watching broadcast TV from another provider (cable channel) but have to pay another company for the privilege? Should you pay renault if you drive a ford? Should you pay the Mail newspaper just because you read the Guardian? Of course not and quite rightly there would be an outcry if you had to, but we seemingly just let the BBC fiasco carry on.

Now do I watch it? No I do not - I CHOOSE to pay for cable TV and CHOOSE to watch what I want but with the BBC, I have no choice but to bloody pay for it.

Ok rant over.

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Holmes

It's about choice

I choose to pay SKY, I can watch terrestrial TV there, too, as part of that service.

I don't get a choice to not pay the BBC even though I'm possibly paying them TWICE as I pay SKY (I'd assume SKY would buy channel content from terrestrial TV, it's not 'donated').

Perhaps, though, with the proliferation of set-top style freeview boxes, TV makers might just start NOT putting 'receivers' into their sets, making them into HDMI monitors and thus making them license-free (you'd pay a license for the freeview set-top box as it's "capable of receiving"). This would be good and would create choice. They could maybe sell the freeview module separately and allow you to plug it in if you wanted it.

Doubtless Freeview wouldn't like that much as it would make them seem not very 'free' even though it's not their fault.

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Thumb Up

Re: NZ Has No TV Tax @Annihilator

I agree on the F1, I am gutted the BBC lost it, but I wont pay a penny to Sky.....

I think that major sporting events should always be on the BBC, we need a law for this!

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Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

"without full F1 coverage"

Agreed, I pay £10 a month on top of my Sky subscription (which I only got ion the first place for the braodband/ phone package) just for the F1. That's less than the cost of the BBC licence. But not everyone will feel the need for this.

The BBC does still put out some quality stuff; wildlife (Africa), Top Gear (not to everyone's taste, admittedly), some good documentaries. But it also pumps out some utter shite. To that end, it's not much different to the other channels, and in my view has nothing that I'd pay £130 a year for. The best stuff can either be purchased in a box set, or is repeated by freeview channels. It's time the antequated BBC kept up with the times and the licence fee was scrapped in place of giving people a choice.

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Re: It's about choice

Worse. BBC pays Sky to carry it

thanks to Maggie

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Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

"without full F1 coverage"

That's less than the cost of the BBC licence.

but not much less, and all you get is F1 - I got tedioused out after realising that the sunday race _always_ ended up with me snoring my head off by lap 3, while 'she who must be obeyed' sat and fumed.

if it's put me to sleep every race for 2 years do i really need to watch it.... do i even give a fuck? even if i _knew_ there was going to be a massive accident, or one car was going to drive past another!!! and in a fit of pique the playstation operator being passed would suddely veer into the playstation operator doing the passing and take them both out?

nope - i think i nice kip is of greater value to me.

sky can keep it (seems millions of other viewers had the same idea)

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Unhappy

TV Tax

and bloody advertisements too!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: NZ Has No TV Tax @Annihilator

"I think that major sporting events should always be on the BBC, we need a law for this!"

There is a list of sporting occasions that must be free-to-air:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/decision-on-free-to-air-listed-events-deferred-until-2013

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Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

The guy says he is an ex-pat. Missing the BBC... Get a proxy sorted out and use Iplayer.

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Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

NZ has no TV tax because 30+% of the population refusing to pay up meant it was impossible to enforce.

Of course a large part of refusing to pay up had to do with it funding TV and Radio stations which carried up to 22 minutes/hour of commercial advertising (The Concert and National programs were and are separately funded by the Department of Internal Affairs, although operated by RNZ)

Compare and contrast with what the BBC offers.

Compare and contrast with Belgium - which has mandatory fees (TV or no TV) and no national broadcaster.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: NZ Has No TV Tax @Annihilator

They couldn't afford to show every race, so decided to split it with Sky.

The BBC wastes masses of money. Even when they lay people off it costs millions. They give some people a huge pay off, nearly £500,000 a piece.

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FAIL

Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

Missing the point entirely that if you eradicate the TV License Fee you will STILL be paying for the BBC, the only difference is that it will come out of your general TAX bill. You still won't have any choice but to pay it, but without direct accountability for the funding, you will lose the right entirely to complain about what you are getting for your money and the BBC - still being paid for by you - will drift even further down the quality ladder.

The BBC is regarded worldwide as the Gold Standard of public broadcasters. It is a uniquely British phenomenon to want to destroy the things that others think we should be most proud of.

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FAIL

Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

"How about if you lived here"

You saw the part where I *DID* live there, for 34 years. I have the benefit of being able to compare those years with living in a very similar country but where the public broadcaster is funded from general taxation.

I've seen and lived the difference. For you, you are just looking at the greener grass and I can tell you, it aint so green up close.

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Re: It's about choice

"Perhaps, though, with the proliferation of set-top style freeview boxes, TV makers might just start NOT putting 'receivers' into their sets, making them into HDMI monitors and thus making them license-free (you'd pay a license for the freeview set-top box as it's "capable of receiving"). This would be good and would create choice. They could maybe sell the freeview module separately and allow you to plug it in if you wanted it."

I never understood why the BBC didnt use encrypted streams and smart cards in freeview boxes when it went digital, then only those who wanted to pay for it could watch BBC channels and everyone else could make do with free to air channels.

The BBC seem to waste a huge amount of (our) money on pointless channels that seem to loop repeats forever. On BBC3, how many times are they going to show the same episodes.of family guy etc? Then theres the channels that so few people watch and listen to that its a waste of limited broadcast bandwidth, like bbc alba, parliment channel, community channel, asian network etc. I think I read somewhere that the head of the Asian radio channel said it would probably be cheaper to mail every listener of his channel a cd of the weeks content, rather than broadcast over freeview/dab.

And finally we get to the dumbed down programming itself. Dubbing sounds on wildlife docs, inane celeb cooking/dancing/travel or whatever other shit they can get them to do programs, horrible cycophantic talk shows that are basically ads for the interviewed celebs next filmatic endevour, rubbish sitcoms and tedious soaps.

Couple all that with the ridiculous saleries paid to some presenters and it really isnt very good value for money.

And dont get me started on the utter fuckup that is dab.

Yes, there are a few diamonds in the rough, but not £142 (or whatever it is this time round) a years worth.

Hmmm, i think i just answered my own smartcard v enforced licence question.

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MJI
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Re: F1

Read up on RTL, Astra 1, and multiple LNBs

F1 is still free

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MJI
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Re: It's about choice

Actually BBC have to pay Sky to go on the EPG

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MJI
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Re: NZ Has No TV Tax @Annihilator

Example

here

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MJI
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Re: It's about choice

Err I don't think you can blame her for that. It is the EPG fee they pay and they have to to be on the Sky EPG

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MJI
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Re: NZ Has No TV Tax @Annihilator

If they had not done "The Voice" they could have afforded to carry on showing F1.

******* idiots in charge

F1 should also have been a TV rights protected sport

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Happy

Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

Good point - but it was Michael Palin on the wall, not dear old Spike.

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Gav
Holmes

puerile TV

Puerile TV, like "Strictly Come Dancing", has always been on BBC TV. Unfortunately a great many people who pay their TV licence *like* puerile TV, and they have as much a right to get programmes made for them as anyone else. If you don't like them, don't watch them. There's plenty other BBC output you've paid for that you could be watching.

The BBC is not perfect, and the way it is funded is not perfect, but it is streets ahead of the alternatives.

"Strictly Come Dancing" - I don't mind the dancing, which can be moderately entertaining, it's the aeons of banal chat that surrounds it that makes me want to slit my wrists.

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Gav
Unhappy

Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

"I charged you a tax for using my washing machine regardless of whether you used it or not? Sound fair? Sounds ludicrous?"

Sounds fine. You get charged for schools whether you use them or not. The police, whether you use them or not. The NHS, whether you use it or not. The RAF, whether you use it or not. You have no choice. You are paying for a service that everyone benefits from being there, whether you use it directly or not.

Without the BBC the entire broadcasting media in the UK would be run by commercial companies for profit, dominated by the multi-national behemoth that is Sky. Do you really have no idea how bad that would be?

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FAIL

Re: puerile TV

Watch it with the volume down.....

There, fixed it for you.

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Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

"Even the cry of "BBC does the best costume dramas" has been lacking of late seeing as ITV has Downton Abbey."

*sighs*

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Devil

Re: It's about choice

"I don't get a choice to not pay the BBC even though I'm possibly paying them TWICE as I pay SKY (I'd assume SKY would buy channel content from terrestrial TV, it's not 'donated')."

I think you'll find that the BBC pay Sky to carry their channels (which doesn't happen anywhere else). So basically all of us pay in order for some people to view the channels on Sky - genius!

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Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

Perhaps ITV does good quality drama BECAUSE it's in competition with the BBC?

The licence fee is worthwhile if only to push the other broadcasters into upping their game a bit.

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FAIL

Re: NZ Has No TV Tax

Glad you love the BBC, but I have to pick you up on an important point. The BBC is *not* a government department, which is the point of the way the license fee works. The only substantial leverage politicians have over the BBC is that every few years, they get to set the size of the next license fee settlement. Although that is a powerful weapon, it has very little effect on the actual output of the BBC, the evidence for which is that governments of all stripes repeatedly belabour the BBC for "unfair coverage" (ie, acting as an independent organisation rather than cheerleaders for the current regime),

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Re: It's about choice

For reasons that no-one really understands, Murdoch is able to force the terrestrial broadcasters to *pay* for "platform access".

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When you compare what the BBC offers...

... compared to the advert encrusted guff that is produced by other publicly funded broadcasters across the EU no wonder people are happy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When you compare what the BBC offers...

"the advert encrusted guff that is produced by other publicly funded broadcasters across the EU"

Nice bit of generalisation and xenophobia there.

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Anonymous Coward

As soon as the catch up services are better quality and more reliable, I'll be cancelling my TV license and using catch up services only.

The more people follow this lead, the less sustainable the TV license will be to maintain.

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"As soon as the catch up services are better quality and more reliable" the rules will be changed.

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There will no longer be anything worth watching however as it will all be commercial dross.

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catch up TV?

and what exactly will you be watching on catch up tv? Imported TV from America or the trash churned out by ITV, C4 and Five?

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not catching up

I liked the idea of catchup until I actually tried 4OD etc - only to find that it's harder to skip the ads there than it is on broadcast TV. The old fashioned record-watch-fast-forward technique works just as well now as it did 20 years ago, despite Sky's attempt to rename/rebrand the "video recorder" as the "Sky Plus Box".

So while I won't criticise commercial TV for trying to force me to watch the adverts which fund its production, I will carry on loving and happily financing Auntie for providing me with advert-free TV, including on the iPlayer.

Now all we need to do is to convince Auntie that as well as hating adverts, we also hate trailers, and her increasingly annoying tendency to repeat the same ones endlessly for weeks and weeks. Yawn.

Oh, and I rather enjoy BBC radio too.

Yours, Mrs Trellis, North Wales ®

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Anonymous Coward

" I'll be cancelling....". Bet you make some excuse to leave the pub every time its coming up to your round too.

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Mushroom

Re: not catching up

BBC Four alone is worth it for me. A high level of programmes actually worth watching. Can't see a chance of getting its sort of content in a commercial environment.

Now if only BBC One could stop trying to be ITV 1 which is terrible.

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Anonymous Coward

Will you be watching anything produced by the BBC?

"As soon as the catch up services are better quality and more reliable, I'll be cancelling my TV license and using catch up services only."

If so I'd call that theft.

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FAIL

What a puerile response.

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FAIL

Re: Will you be watching anything produced by the BBC?

So I am a thief for using catchup on Netflix to watch shows?

Or ITV catchup who does not receive taxpayer money?

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Re: not catching up

BBC Four alone is worth it for me.

To say nothing of Radio4, which is funded by the TV licence even it you don't need one to listen.

Both channels that don't treat the audience as idiots - just treat the audience.

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Re: not catching up

I'd pay the TV licence just for BBC4, Radio4, 6 Music and the occasional programme on BBC 1 & 2. I'd also pay to get rid of BBC 3 (aka the Family Guy channel) and just buy the box sets.

I would also like the BBC to stop paying self-promoting so-called "celebrities" unless it was a real-life version of the Running Man with these people in it. That would be good.

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