back to article Chill, luvvies. The ‘unsustainable’ BBC Telly Tax stays – for now

The appointment of backbench Tory heavyweight John Whittingdale MP to head the Ministry of Fun will throw the BBC’s senior management into a state of high anxiety, and have the Beeb's opponents grabbing their crotches in excitement. The minister is responsible for the government’s policy on the BBC. Many Tories view the …

  1. boltar Silver badge

    Am I the only person...

    ... who doesn't really have an issue with the license fee? The BBC might be full of naive self righteous liberal lefties who rarely venture outside the M25 unless they're in an aircraft, but they do produce some damn good programmes despite that, and for that I think the 170 quid is quite good value especially compared to the mortgage you need to pay for anything decent from Sky or Virgin.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only person...

      You are not alone. It may be a regressive form of taxation, but so are VAT and NI. As public services go, it seems like remarkably good value.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only person...

      Based in Salford now, aren't they?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Am I the only person...

        @TRT

        Based in Salford now, aren't they?

        Part of it was until it got stolen :)

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. FartingHippo
      Flame

      Re: Am I the only person...

      That's all well and good if you can afford it, and actually want the product. If I want to watch I'm a Celebrity and Corrie - paid for in full by the advertising - why should I have to fund the BBC?

      The situation whereby a house on the breadline pays the same, mandatory fee as a millionaire, under threat of inprisonment, seems incontrovertibly unfair.

      Add into that the adsurdity that watching catch-up TV does NOT require a license (just a PC or set-top box, which many poor households do not view as a priority) and the whole current system disappears up it's own arse.

      1. Andrew Richards

        Re: Am I the only person...

        Well food costs them the same.

        However, your core argument is quite common: why pay for something that's of no interest. The counter would be that if you can't find anything on the BBC then you're not looking hard enough. The license fee covers radio too, and personally:

        I. I'd pay a chunk of the license fee for Radio 3, and I only regularly listen on a Saturday morning.

        2. I'd pay almost all of the license fee just for Radio 4. It's great, really. I'm not a heavy user but there's no commercial equivalent.

        3. I'd pay the license just for 6 Music, and would do so just for Radcliffe & Maconie.

        And there's the BBC website (which is huge); and iPlayer. For £150 it's a bargain, really. Make the BBC commercially funded and, yes, we'd be £150 a year better off. But considerably poorer.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Am I the only person...

          "I. I'd pay a chunk of the license fee for Radio 3, and I only regularly listen on a Saturday morning.

          2. I'd pay almost all of the license fee just for Radio 4. It's great, really. I'm not a heavy user but there's no commercial equivalent.

          3. I'd pay the license just for 6 Music, and would do so just for Radcliffe & Maconie."

          Great post, Andrew.

          From your numbers it looks like you'd pay almost 2x the current license fee to get services you value, maybe £250-£300. I know some people who'd pay even more.

          Even at £500/yr it's still much cheaper than Sky.

          This is a compelling case for the middle class users paying subscriptions - it suggests the middle class don't pay enough. Until that happens though, the poor who don't use it subsidise your media habits.

          1. LucreLout Silver badge

            Re: Am I the only person...

            This is a compelling case for the middle class users paying subscriptions - it suggests the middle class don't pay enough. Until that happens though, the poor who don't use it subsidise your media habits.

            What it suggests is that the licence fee should be scrapped and the BBC moved to a subscription based offering with modular output selection. If the quality is there, people will pay the money; where it isn't, people won't. Theoretically, opening up iPlayer and selling licences to the rest of the world would more than cover any funding costs, making the BBC free to UK citizens, if the output is of the standard that the BBC think it is.

            The poor don't, by definition, subsidise anything or anyone; the poor are heavily subsidised by society, paying far less into the pot than they consume via services. I'm not saying thats wrong, or even "unfair", only that it's wrong to play politics with who subsidises who.

        2. Jagged

          Re: Am I the only person...

          @Andrew Richards

          Well clearly I am subsidising your viewing/listening habits. That's great for you, not so great for the rest of us. Personally I would like to option to take my £150 and spend it elsewhere.

          1. Cari

            Re: Am I the only person...

            "Personally I would like to option to take my £150 and spend it elsewhere."

            You can: Netflix, Prime, youtube, catch-up services, there's the cinema and DvD release dates not too far behind that... All you need is the Internet for most of it. So long as you're not watching live broadcast on TV, PC with an adapter, or the Internet, you don't need a license.

          2. Alan Edwards

            Re: Am I the only person...

            "Personally I would like to option to take my £150 and spend it elsewhere."

            You can, you just can't watch broadcast TV if you do.

            Can the TV licence, use iPlayer/4OD etc, and sign up for Netflix (Amazon, whatever) if you need to. Job done.

      2. chrspy

        Re: Am I the only person...

        But who pays for the advertising? We all do through the advertising premium on all our goods and services which you cannot avoid unless you become a self sufficient hermit! And actually that Pay as You Shop "tax" is more (average household £200+) than the licence fee. If people who don't watch the BBC should not have to pay towards the BBC why should people who CAN'T watch Sky (because they can't afford the exorbitant subscriptions!) have to pay towards the commercial channels .........?????

      3. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Am I the only person...

        "The situation whereby a house on the breadline pays the same, mandatory fee as a millionaire, under threat of inprisonment, seems incontrovertibly unfair."

        Thats a stupid argument. You might as well say its unfair that someone on the breadline has to pay the same for their groceries as a millionaire.

        1. Cari

          Re: Am I the only person...

          "Thats a stupid argument. You might as well say its unfair that someone on the breadline has to pay the same for their groceries as a millionaire."

          That isn't comparable. There is a range of supermarkets, grocery stores and what have you, suitable for a range of incomes. Someone on the breadline has cheaper alternatives than shopping at Waitrose or M&S.

          With some exceptions, everyone pays the same fee for TV license, and it is required if you want to watch live broadcast. Extras, like Sky et al are not required, so if you can't afford it you can easily go without.

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Am I the only person...

            "Someone on the breadline has cheaper alternatives than shopping at Waitrose or M&S."

            "With some exceptions, everyone pays the same fee for TV license, and it is required if you want to watch live broadcast. Extras, like Sky et al are not required, so if you can't afford it you can easily go without."

            Food is essential, TV isn't.

            1. Cari

              Re: Am I the only person...

              "Food is essential, TV isn't."

              So the point about them being not comparable still stands.

              I don't disagree either, not having had a TV for about three years and will likely not go back to watching live broadcast.

      4. LucreLout Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Am I the only person...

        Fromt he article:

        So if you define “fairness” as a) paying proportionate to your income

        And from the post to which I replied:

        The situation whereby a house on the breadline pays the same, mandatory fee as a millionaire, under threat of inprisonment, seems incontrovertibly unfair.

        What possible reason can there be for someones income to form any basis at all for how much they pay for a discretionary service? Do Tesco charge more for coffee and bread if you earn over £40k?

        I'll never understand the left's horrendous obsession with other peoples money. Something costs what it costs, and that is the same whoever is buying it. If the licence fee cost is too high then cut it and force the BBC to make some efficiencies - given their willful destruction of their most commercially successful show, they seem to have money to burn.

        1. Alan Edwards

          Re: Am I the only person...

          "Do Tesco charge more for coffee and bread if you earn over £40k?"

          Yes, in a way, but it's optional.

          You can buy the Value stuff if that all you can afford, or you can get the expensive branded stuff if you have the money.

    5. Graham Marsden
      Thumb Up

      Re: Am I the only person...

      No, you're not the only one.

      Yes, Netflix is cheaper, but you get much less content. Yes, Sky has lots of content, but you end up subsidising the huge amounts they pay for sporting events, even when you're not willing to pay the massive extra fees to actually see those events.

      And, I'm sorry, Andrew, but an extra £145 a year or £2.78 a week for most people isn't going to make much of a difference. Try getting the Tories to increase the Minimum Wage and get rid of spiteful benefit sanctions, these would do a lot more good to the poorest in society.

      PS Oh, and as for the comment that the Tories had "a smashing democratic endorsement", no, Andrew, they only got about 600,000 more votes than last time, it's only because of our broken electoral system that they got a "majority" with only 36.4% of the votes.

    6. Jim 59

      Re: Am I the only person...

      Agree with Boltar that BBC is good value compared to Sky. But there are drawbacks. The Beeb is endlessly annoying and self-promoting, pretending to be a commercial organisation (so it can pay itself like one). Then pretending to be a public broadcaster (so that it can tax us like one). Indulging in chronic group think, failing to tolerate anyone with a differing world view, failing to take an interest in life outside of NW1, and generally acting with the sense of entitlement that comes when you have monopolized the microphone for the last 30 years.

      I would like to see it broadened, opened up, rejuvenated, and doing the PS role it was meant to do, broadcasting to the whole nation, and not being hijacked by one ratpack or another. Sorry about the rant.

    7. vmistery

      Re: Am I the only person...

      You are not the only one. People seem to forget that despite it being far cheaper than Virgin or Sky you also don't have endless adverts and you get radio too. I'd support something that made people who stream only pay a bit in but really we do have great value. Netflix is the only real competition and as yet it isn't as good.

    8. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only person...

      I think the price is a bit steep. With digital TV etc. nowadays, there's no reason you couldn't just slap, say, 1/5th of that on the price of a TV. If you can afford a TV, you can afford the licence fee. The more TV's you buy, the more expensive it gets. And you can't "avoid" it legally, and the administration is so much easier.

      As it is, if you sell a TV, you have to collect details for TV Licensing. I'm sure they'd rather just have £20 tax on the price of every TV (or even make it relative to screensize!) and save all the paperwork.

      The BBC is good, but I'm not sure why I should be funding them in preference to others. The percentage of time I watch BBC content compared to anything else is... miniscule. Less than 5%? And I lived without a TV (or licence) for many years.

      Honestly, if you're going to "tax" it, then do so properly and in a way that can't reasonably be avoided and doesn't need a ton of money to make sure people adhere to the rules. Slapping a "£1 per inch diagonal of visible screen" tax on each new TV sold is the way to do that, surely? And then you penalise show-offs, large commerce, and new-purchasers and not second-hand scourers, tiny TV for the kids and only-one-TV-in-the-whole-house people. You can tax at source, and Samsung, LG et al do the paperwork rather than you or the consumer.

      And, over the years, you'll get roughly the same kind of money out of it as people need to buy new TV's when the old one breaks, as people stop avoiding the tax, as administration is significantly reduced, and as the old codger with the black and white TV that he's going to keep until he dies doesn't have to worry about it.

      I find it ridiculous that a huge workplace can pay the same for hundreds of "digital signage" screens all showing BBC News as some old pensioner does for her 4:3 CRT that she only watches Emmerdale on.

    9. david bates

      Re: Am I the only person...

      But you still have to pay the £170.00 before you even get the CHANCE to see what Sky or Virgin have to offer.

    10. graeme leggett Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only person...

      The best stuff I've found on Sky that wasn't on Freeview was the children's tv channels.

      Pricing for movie 'rental' seems high: £3 or so for just Hunger Games Catching Fire which is on Netflix ( £7 all in). And the watch-and-keep £12 for a DVD which is closer to £8 in shops, and a download that took so long that the DVD nearly got there first.

      1. Tom Womack

        Re: Am I the only person...

        The price is what it costs; if you want to collect it when people buy TVs, people buy a telly once a decade so it'd be £1500 on the price of every TV sold, which I don't think is practical.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Am I the only person...

        "Slapping a "£1 per inch diagonal of visible screen" tax on each new TV sold is the way to do that, surely?"

        I'd love to see a per-inch charging model. with slapping as an optional extra.

        now, what's all this talk about tellies, then?

    11. Stuart Halliday

      Re: Am I the only person...

      One of the two best things we have. BBC and the NHS. Don't mess with the best.

    12. This post has been deleted by its author

    13. Cari

      Re: Am I the only person...

      The part I object to is the heavy-handed way they go about collecting and enforcing the tax. The Sheriff of Nottingham is not a patch on them.

    14. Ossi

      Re: Am I the only person...

      It's terrible value if you don't use it.

      1. Anonymous IV

        Re: Am I the only person...

        "It's terrible value if you don't use it."

        Indeed. So is the cost of schools, since I don't have any children...

        1. Cari

          Re: Am I the only person...

          "Indeed. So is the cost of schools, since I don't have any children..."

          You benefit from the younger generations having an education though.

          1. Vic

            Re: Am I the only person...

            You benefit from the younger generations having an education though.

            I'd certainly like to...

            Vic.

        2. Jim 59

          Re: Am I the only person...

          Indeed. So is the cost of schools, since I don't have any children...

          You were, however, likely educated in said schools at other people's expense, including the childless couple next door.

        3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Am I the only person...

          "

          "It's terrible value if you don't use it."

          Indeed. So is the cost of schools, since I don't have any children...

          "

          That is simply not true. The main benefit of "free" education is to all of society - it ensures (admittedly not very well of late) that the next generation will be educated, productive members of society rather than illiterate burdens to society. You will hopefully be alive for 3 or 4 generations, so you get considerable personal benefit from the money you are forced to pay to educate other people's children.

      2. AceRimmer

        Re: Am I the only person...

        "They're a government mouth piece. If they were lefties they would have been covering the london protests on Downing street as it happened rather than tucking it into the news in the middle of the night."

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32678518

        The protests weren't really news, it was the usual bunch yet again abusing the right to protest

        http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/05/09/downing-street-anti-austerity-protest_n_7249008.html

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Am I the only person...

          Meanwhile in Scotland, those who own a television get the privilege of being bombarded with endless anti-SNP propaganda by the BBC, despite that party being the legitimate party of government here. I don't own a TV, but if I did why would I fund the mouthpiece of the enemy in Westminster?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Am I the only person...

            "endless anti-SNP propaganda by the BBC, despite that party being the legitimate party of government here"

            well some south of the border will complain about getting endless anti-Tory propaganda despite etc, so its equality for Scotland

      3. Cari

        Re: Am I the only person...

        " If they were lefties they would have been covering the london protests on Downing street as it happened rather than tucking it into the news in the middle of the night."

        Or, like the rest of the left-wing media, they are rightfully ashamed of the part they played in causing the riots in the first place, after realising that vandalising a women in WWII war memorial on VE day in a spoilt temper tantrum, is not going to endear the rest of the public to the left any time soon.

    15. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only person...

      Well good for you that you like the BBC output and think it is jolly good value. I happen to think that Lidl is pretty good value, so should we make everyone who uses a supermarket buy a "supermarket licence" to fund Lidl whether they want to shop there or not?

      A year or so ago I found that the programs and films available over the various Internet services were almost always more interesting for me at the times I had free to watch TV than any of the programs that happened to be broadcasting at those times, so the amount of live programs I watched fell to less than an hour or so a month. So I decided to stop watching broadcast TV altogether in order to legitimately forego buying a TV licence. I am now plagued with both unsolicited phone calls and letters from TV licencing that are extremely threatening in nature - they basically say, "If you do not buy a TV licence or explain yourself to our satisfaction immediately, we'll be sending around some of the boys and you will be severely punished - and even if you *do* have an explanation that we are willing to accept, we will send the boys around to give you the once-over anyway." I know what the law is and so can dismiss such letters, but a sizeable number of people are intimidated and hand over their "protection money" even if it means going without heating or food for a while, and the tactics make me angry.

      If those sort of letters were sent every month by Asda to everyone who did not shop with them, it would be considered a pretty serious criminal offence, and it has caused me to consider the BBC to be unethical bullies, so I am more determined than ever to continue to avoid paying them.

      1. markw:

        Re: Am I the only person...

        I opted out of the licence fee two years ago by filling out the online form. Since then I have received no communications from the licencing authorities or anyone else. They did mention in the form that they could come and inspect me but so far nothing ...

      2. dan1980

        Re: Am I the only person...

        The point of the BBC or the ABC is that you have a channel - or range of channels (TV and radio) - that are not supported and governed by commercial interests.

        Of course, they are governed by other interests and people with a right-leaning ideology believe those interests to be left-leaning. Fair enough. To be honest, though, with that many channels and programs and producers and presenters, it is unlikely that everything is biased towards one ideological position or another but I accept that the stations, as a whole may have a general bias.

        Still, it is not a commercial bias.

        Whether it is good value or not, is another question altogether because that depends not just on if you use the BBC, but also on whether you believe that its existence provides an important service.

        One important point, however, is that the services the BBC - as with the ABC in Australia - provide are not limited to simply broadcasting content. Most importantly, they invest back into local groups. in Australia, for example, the ABC broadcasts the local netball competition. Now, this is of no interest to me, nor indeed to a majority of Australians. But this is part of the point - if it was more popular, it would be shown on the commercial channels.

        If the ABC didn't broadcast it, the competition would be worse off because broadcast deals inject much-needed money for the sport and clubs. Perhaps that, too, is not overly important to me as I don't care for netball but it means that there is more money for school programs, which encourages girl to get active.

        Likewise music.

        And local dramas and mini-series - some of which are world-renowned. Not to mention the documentaries.

        My point is that they help inject money into areas and towards groups that don't always get represented well by the commercial stations. Again, whether you think that is important is a personal matter but it's not just about whether you watch the BBC or not.

        That said, it should most definitely be means-tested.There's really no good reason not to.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: Am I the only person...

        "If those sort of letters were sent every month by Asda to everyone who did not shop with them, it would be considered a pretty serious criminal offence"

        Well if I was forced to pay Asda £170 a year, if I chose to shop there or not, but in return I had the ability to have entire contents of the store for free, I would have no issue,

        See your comparison falls flat on it's arse.

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Am I the only person...

          "

          Well if I was forced to pay Asda £170 a year, if I chose to shop there or not, but in return I had the ability to have entire contents of the store for free, I would have no issue,

          "

          Even if other stores allowed you to take all they had without paying anything? Or if you were already paying £500 to a store that had a greater variety of goods that you like?

      4. Alan Edwards

        Re: Am I the only person...

        Did you fill the form in on the TVL web site saying you don't need a licence, or just stop paying it?

        I filled the form in when I moved in a year ago and I've heard nothing from them since.

    16. Chad H.

      Re: Am I the only person...

      In the short term, I agree. Compare the BBC to the ABC, and you'll beg for a license fee.

      However, it is correct that in the long term it is not sustainable as a TV tax as people turn away from OTA Broadcast. BBC iplayer live is currently operating on the honour system, but if you're willing to wait 60 mins or so you can legally watch any BBC content free by waiting for it to appear on iPlayer.

    17. sed gawk

      Re: Am I the only person...

      No, I've said it before here and you are not alone mate, but it seems we are but a quiet voice now.

      It's terribly fashionable to have a pop at auntie, but frankly it's a shining light of good practice across multiple examples from how to document an API for external usage http://www.bbc.co.uk/frameworks/bbcuser/docs/usage/bbc-user-currentuser through to how to get people from the ground floor into highly skilled jobs http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy

      It's a remarkably good use of public money, we all get many times back what it costs the population.

      For four pence a day, we get to train people and turn them into tax payers, some of them go on to pay very large volumes of tax. That the BBC make the odd thing worth watching is a nice side bonus.

      Not everything the BBC do makes sense, or is worth pursuing but it's a very important part of our cultural heritage and we'd be poorer both financially and culturally as a nation without it.

      1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: Am I the only person...

        @sed gawk

        "For 4p a day..."

        Bloody hell, I hope you don't teach maths.

        14,450 / 365.25 = 39.56p a day.

        You're off by a factor of 10.

        You make a lot of interesting points but none of them address the objections to the BBC that have been raised. Just repeating that's its traditional and that you like it hasn't stopped other institutions getting shafted. They were traditional and well-liked too.

        Also, you could have declared that you worked for the BBC.

        1. sed gawk

          Re: Am I the only person...

          I have done work for both BBC, and Sky but not for a couple of *years.*

          I don't currently have *any* business interests with *either* party, I do have *mates* at *both* places. It's been long enough that I didn't think it was relevant, fair cop.

          I don't teach maths, for which we may both be grateful, but even at £1 a day, I still think a machine which takes in unskilled people and turns them into taxpayers is worth having.

          As to the basic point, regressive and unfair are the charges levied at the funding model.

          I don't really have a good argument to defend one funding model over another, as you may have noticed, I am not a mathematical sophisticate ;)

          *So if you define “fairness” as a) paying proportionate to your income, and b) paying for what you use, then on both counts, the TV Licence is less “fair” than the Poll Tax.*

          I think of the BBC as a big school.

          I paid a "unfair" proportion of my income which increased as my usage of schools declined, seems to be the argument. We do all use the BBC, just like we all use schools. Doesn't really matter if we don't watch it/dont attend school much.

          The proportionate to income is a red-herring VAT is 20% on stuff, it's not 15% if you have less cash this week. Why should paying for thing X be "fair" when life more generally is not? if a more fair society is the goal, why changing the way people pay for a TV license, rather than something more weighty (minimum income for all people perhaps)

          *What Whittingdale did say was the £145.50 was archaic and “unsustainable” in the long-run because viewing habits have changed.*

          Well, as I've said, I think he's right, getting such good value for money from the public purse is "archaic" and "unsustainable". £145.50 buys the public the sort of efficiencies of scale that means business must compete with, long term, real quality. The BBC put out IPlayer, that meant the UK freelance market suddenly got an injection of highly skilled people in the field of video streaming.

          This didn't raise the license fee but, did result in quite a bit of "knowledge capital" going back into the public pool, money changed hands and so that £145.50 has a some knock on "value" effects, but basically it's very good value for money, and he's right, that really is "archaic".

          It's actually a fairly "poor" payer compared to market rate, frankly you don't work there purely for the money, from a hard headed business perspective, if a steady stream of people are prepared to give the nation a discount on market rates, that saves us all some serious money, which really is "unsustainable".

          *Nor is adding BBC funding to income tax very popular, even though it addresses one half of the “fairness test” quite satisfactorily.*

          Personally, I'd just put the license fee up to cover the non-payers, and not worry about chasing them that don't want to pay it, it's likely cheaper then the cost of enforcement. It has the added value that it requires very little cost to implement. The richer people would pay it, making it a quid a day would cover the non-payers.

          Thankfully you already crunched the exact numbers These are sums anyone can do. If 20 per cent of today's payers stopped paying altogether, 40 per cent paid more (double today's fee, or £5.59 per week) and 20 per cent paid treble (or £8.39 per week) then the BBC's income from UK residents would exceed £5bn a year, compared with the £3bn it raises through the current system.

          http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/02/26/dont_pay_bbc_no_dr_who_uk_mp/?page=2

          Having a TV doesn't require a license and you don't have pay the BBC anything to benefit from it's output.

          given I think that the way we use the BBC should be viewed as a long term move like having schools, having a state broadcaster is basically a better population of workers / knowledge cross-pollination.

          It's a massive export, they do lots of stuff which results in the country earning a nice few quid, okay it's arcane and frankly weird.

          But I think it's sound for us to pay for it in the way we do, basically on the grounds of it basically makes money in the long run, it actually employes lots of people, and 40p a day is small beer compared to the $waste_of_public_money generally found in our large public institutions.

          Conditional Access is basically a giant money spinner for the vendors of C/A systems and a pain for everyone else, the license fee works, leave alone, but don't infest normal TV with cards/accounts/subscriptions. Everybody gets TV, everybody can plug in a TV, everyone knows exactly how much a license costs. It's a model of universal coverage and relatively efficent tax collection, which is free at point of use and transparent as to price. I as a layman know virtually no exact cost for the services I contribute to, health education, etc, but I know how much the licence fee is.

          Why change that?

          There are lots of things about the specifics of the way people pay for services which seem unfair, but that

          I also don't really think fairness when it comes to a way of paying for stuff is a concern.

          We basically live in a country where things have a price, if you don't want to pay the price, you don't have to have the service, now that is harsh but the way of things.

          I don't need a TV but I do need childcare to work, I can't do anything about that cost other than pay it or do without childcare, I can't pay my rent without working, so I need childcare. When he's got something to say about that, perhaps, I'll take him seriously.

    18. Yugguy

      Re: Am I the only person...

      No - I'm right with you.

      The licence fee allows for the making of very niche stuff that isn't commercially viable.

      But yes, lets get rid of it and enjoy a constant stream of wretched soaps and reality programmes. Let's just pander to the lowest common denominator.

    19. Tim Almond

      Re: Am I the only person...

      Explain to me the morality of people facing threat of imprisonment because they don't want to pay for Strictly while watching the X-Factor.

      Whether you think it's good value or not is irrelevant. Should we be threatening people with imprisonment for the equivalent of buying Pepsi without throwing some money at Coca-Cola?

      There's a few things that the BBC does that genuinely count as "public goods", things that the market won't provide. Things we'd like people without money to have, like CBeebies to help educate their under-5s. In which case, should we expect the poor to pay for that? Or should richer people be paying for it.

      And personally, I find little worth watching or listening to. Comedy has been reduced to cheap panel shows, midweek broadcasting has been stuffed with cookery shows and soap operas. Other than Episodes (an American co-production), Parks and Rec (American), QI and Only Connect, most of their output is very average. It all has high production values, but the content is generally pretty weak.

  2. Sooty

    there is no means-tested element whatsoever

    Well i suppose having enough money to buy a tv is kind of means testing.

    if you can't afford the tv tax, you could always get shut of the tv? in the same way that i you can't afford to tax your car, you can't afford to have a car.

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: there is no means-tested element whatsoever

      "Well i suppose having enough money to buy a tv is kind of means testing.

      "

      Not really. A small basic second-hand TV set will cost you hardly anything - and if you were looking, you wouldn't have to wait all that long before you would come across the offer of a free set - in fact I have one sitting in a cupboard that I'll soon be dumping because I cannot find anyone who wants it.

      If anything, it is the licence-free Internet video content that requires a person to have spare cash, non-subscription broadcast TV is more and more the stuff that only poor people watch.

      "

      if you can't afford the tv tax, you could always get shut of the tv? in the same way that i you can't afford to tax your car, you can't afford to have a car.

      "

      Television is a part of modern life, and in a very real way prevent the peasants from revolting. It is the "circuses" part of the "bread and circuses" that even the ancient Romans were well aware was necessary to maintain good law & order amongst the poor in society. Would you also say that people who cannot afford the water bill could shut off the mains water and fetch water in buckets from the nearest river, or those who cannot afford electricity should live without it? After all, people lived without such things 200 years ago, so they cannot be classed as necessities.

    2. Gareth Gouldstone

      Re: there is no means-tested element whatsoever

      I wonder how many 'poor' households have a 60" set, satellite dish and a full package of channels, costing a lot more every month than the licence fee...

    3. Ossi

      Re: there is no means-tested element whatsoever

      @Sooty

      Surely you mean 'I think the BBC's a great thing. I get a decent salary and I watch it a lot. It's only fair that I chip in a bit more.'?

      Some things for you to think about while you're telling the poor that they can't have a TV:

      The cheapest TV in Argos is £90. A single year of Licence Fee is £145.50

      Wonga offers loans as low as £50. The default loan on its website tool is £111.

      You can't drive a car without using the road. You can watch TV without watching the BBC.

      ...or perhaps I'm just missing the joke.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. Velv Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: there is no means-tested element whatsoever

      Is that like the anti-austerity protesters who can't can't afford food but can afford to film the protest at Downing Street on their iPhone6?

  3. Mage Silver badge
    Big Brother

    I'm sceptical

    Some 20 per cent of people never view or listen to anything the BBC does.

    a) If true, they need to reform.

    b) Maybe these are also the people that before voting claimed they'd never vote Cons, or would vote labour.

    c) Maybe they are counting it wrong.

    d) Public service broadcasting needs to be Free To Air, even if many people are ignoring it.

    Internet vs Broadcast

    Broadcast reception is scaleable for free, works in a disaster and is private for listener / viewer. No privacy on Internet, scaling to more users expensive, fragile in disaster.

    Terrestrial via Satellite / Cable.

    Only terrestrial is portable and needs no user infrastucture.

    If BBC scrapped DAB, a layer of managers, overpaid so called celebrities and concentrated on content?

    As a PSB they'd be doing something wrong if only appealing to lowest common denominator too.

    1. Andrew Richards

      Re: I'm sceptical

      The 20% are missing out. BBC Radio is excellent, and worth the fee on its own. They do some telly too.

      1. JoshOvki

        Re: I'm sceptical

        I am sceptical too. If you have a TV (and use it as a TV rather than just for watching films), I seriously doubt they never end up watching anything on the BBC in this country. Unless of course those are the 20% that have registered as not having a TV.

  4. Mage Silver badge
    Devil

    conditional access

    Evil.

    Over 92 of content watched by Sky Subscribers is Free To Air.

    Limits user options.

    Conditional access is only for Commercial Pay TV platforms, which SHOULD NOT be allowed to own channels.

    Future Conditional Access systems will also remove viewer / listener privacy.

  5. Mage Silver badge

    Netflex

    Netflix vs TV Licence: A very bad and false comparison. A video rental shop via broadband isn't a Pay TV operator. Also they are subsidised by your ISP if it actually works properly (they put servers at ISP). They also are unlike Sky aggressively pricing to build market share.

    Sky (as it works outside cable areas) and has actual TV channels, is the only comparison.

    Also not all the TV licence goes to BBC? Unless it's been changed. Isn't it really a tax on being able to watch ANY TV?

    1. Cari

      Re: Netflex

      It's really a tax on watching live broadcast, doesn't matter if that's with a TV or some other means.

      If you have a TV, but only use it to watch the various channels' catch-up or on demand services, to play videos/ DvDs and games etc. but do not watch anything that comes in via Freeview (and you don't have Sky or Virgin), and do not watch the live broadcasts the BBC have on their site (like sports), you don't need a license. You just need to tell TV licensing you don't watch or record live broadcast (http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/how-to-tell-us-you-dont-watch-tv-top12). And maybe let one of them have a nose around your house to make sure you're not lying...

      It doesn't seem like you would be saving a lot, but for people that don't watch live broadcast and don't have a great income, it could be handy to know. A ~tenner a month can make a difference to some.

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Netflex

        "

        You just need to tell TV licensing you don't watch or record live broadcast (http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/how-to-tell-us-you-dont-watch-tv-top12). And maybe let one of them have a nose around your house to make sure you're not lying...

        "

        No, you do not need to do any such thing, any more than you need to inform the fisheries department that you do not require a fishing licence because you do not fish, then allow someone to snoop around your house to make sure you don't have any fishing rods in your house, or contact the DVLA to assure them that you do not require an HGV licence - etc.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop Sky Subsidy!

    Isn't it about time Sky started paying full whack for BBC programs instead of getting them for free?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Stop Sky Subsidy!

      What do you mean "getting them" ?

      You do know that when you watch BBC on a Sky box you're watching exactly the same signal, from exactly the same satellite, as you are when you watch BBC on a Freesat box, or a plain ordinary FTA box? The only thing Sky "gets" is the programme info that goes into the EPG, just as the Radio Times etc. do.

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Stop Sky Subsidy!

        No, the video /audio is the same. But Sky charge all the FTA broadcasters extortionate money to be on the Sky EPG. Ofcom, strangely, seems to think that charging five or six figure sums annually for each channel is fine. It's very little bandwidth cost and the broadcaster provides the machine readable file for the automated EPG transmission carousel.

        Then BBC has to separately pay to Sky for it's Interactive stuff as Sky use the proprietary "Open TV" which only works on Sky boxes and BBC uses the MHEG5 system (which is open and free for box maker and on PC applications as well as setboxes, but not actually open source). MHEG5 interactive also used in other countries, Satellite and Terrestrial.

      2. chrspy

        Re: Stop Sky Subsidy!

        BUt Sky charge the BBC something like £12m per year for the privilege of putting the BBc programmes on the EPG. That surely has to stop!!!

    2. montyburns56

      Re: Stop Sky Subsidy!

      I do find it unbelievable that the BBC has to pay £10 million a year to Sky just so they can broadcast their output on satellite TV

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Stop Sky Subsidy!

        I do find it unbelievable that the BBC has to pay £10 million a year to Sky just so they can broadcast their output on satellite TV

        I'm glad you find it unbelieveable, because it isn't true.

        The BBC's satellite broadcasting is completely independent of Sky, and is paid for by the BBC. You can watch it without any need to involve Sky. The only thing that the BBC pays Sky for (as has been pointed out) is for Sky to include the BBC programme listings in its programme guide. That's makes sense, when Sky viewers page through the guide to see what's on, it's in the BBC's interest that BBC channels show up as well. Essentially the BBC is paying to advertise on Sky, since there is little incentive for Sky to encourage people to watch BBC1 or BBC Four instead of, say, Sky 1 or Sky Arts.

  7. Alan Denman

    re - Much quoted now is Whittingdale’s view ...........

    .........that the TV licence fee is “worse than the Poll Tax”. He argued in 2014 that the TV licence was more regressive (and therefore unfair) than the ill-fated, flat-rate local authority tax.

    Wrong.

    The biggest watchers may well be the poorest, though the poor often have a plague of satellite dishes stuck on long terrace walls.

    Yet if prices ever reflect usage, the lower 'pooled value' simply turns the BBC into an expensive pale imitation of now.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: re - Much quoted now is Whittingdale’s view ...........

      @Alan Denham

      The sources for all the numbers are in the story, you can look them up yourself. The ones you doubt were compiled for the BBC Trust.

      You seem a bit concerned that the poor (with their ghastly satellite dishes) might move near you, possibly lowering your house price. But at the same time you're happy for them to subsidise what you use.

  8. Roger B

    Okay I'll admit I have only skimmed through this at the moment, but my view as someone who doesn't mind paying the license fee is;

    I do not expect the BBC to produce a show every day for me watch and enjoy, off the top of my head, my favourite BBC shows are F1 Grand Prix, The Musketeers, New Tricks, Peter Kay Car Share, Jools Holland, any of the Simon Reeve(?) travel documentaries, Coast and in the past they have brought us Seinfeld and The Wire and the Simpsons, then there is Radio 2 and 6Music.

    Not a huge number of shows, but pretty good value for money I think.

    Moving to a subscription service would in theory force the BBC to produce high quality out put, but would I think lead to less people subscribing as and when they needed to tighten their belts for whatever reason.

    Introducing the payment through a tax would just lead to the government being able to have more control over the BBC budget, they are hardly independant as it is, this would only make it worse.

    Having a license tied to income just seems unfair on those who earn more and is only going to piss off high income workers.

    If anything I'd prefer to see even more distance between the government and the BBC.

    For the record I am white, 37, male, earning 20k.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Human Planet was just stunning. Absolutely stunning.

      1. Flatpackhamster

        It was indeed very pretty.

        However, in terms of actual information provided to the viewer, it was poor when compared to Attenborough/BBC work such as Life on Earth and The Trials of Life. And this is one of the problems I have with the BBC. It has dumbed down.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: It was indeed very pretty.

          I have to agree with you there FlatPackHamster. Horizon used to be good, Tomorrow's World was a prime time science magazine, even Mac and the Computer Programme... Dr Who was history and science...

          Yeah, it's dumbed down. Possibly because it feels the need to compete by appealing to a broader base.

          1. Flatpackhamster

            Re: It was indeed very pretty.

            I think it's dumbed down partly because of a culture of 'inclusiveness' which means getting rid of all the long words in case someone doesn't understand them because god forbid they might be challenged by something and go and look it up.

            But it's also dumbed down because the BBC does lots of programs 'in association with' other companies. So there's one on Madagascar 'in association with' animal planet. The program is full of pictures of Madagascar and its wildlife, and very occasionally a snippet of information. The blind cave fish were mentioned - we were informed they were blind and occasionally swam upside down. Nothing on what they ate, how they bred, how they found their way around, or anything at all about them beyond 'HURRRrrrrr look at der wyrd fishies'.

            There's also the ones done in association with the Discovery Channel, which feature beautiful pictures, soaring music, and just occasionally, when there's time, a snippet of information.

    2. King Jack Silver badge

      If I ran a company that every household in the UK had to pay for whether they used a competing firm or not, I'd be 'good value for money' too. I'd also be a millionaire. I'd' be a billionaire once they started putting people in jail for non payment. Sounds fair to me.

      1. Andrew Richards

        The alternative is worse, much worse. An hour's programme on the BBC is almost an hour. Elsewhere it's generally coming down to 40 minutes.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Not a huge number of shows, but pretty good value for money I think."

      For you, yes. But this model is based on those who watch mainly or entirely non-BBC channels being charged as much as those who consume as much BBC content as time allows. That seems to fail the sort of fairness test that causes you to rule out income related taxation?

      If I were a Sky, VM, or BT TV customer, I'd be pretty pissed off at having to subsidise those who choose not to make any active choice to pay for their information or entertainment. In this day and age, conditional access is easily implemented. If (for example) there's a paying market for inane babbling about arts & farts then the Beeb would be at liberty to churn out such stuff, and so forth. If there's a paying market for the programme recently aired, of a commentary-less real time canal trip along some pleasant but unremarkable canal, then more may be made.

      I like the fact that the BBC don't have commercials, and don't have the pressures of commercialism. Unfortunately as an institution I think they treat this a licence to do exactly what suits them, and it is this that creates the ongoing tensions. Becoming an organisation that is culturally biased towards a youthful, left, liberal elite probably isn't a good survival strategy.

    4. Mage Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Subscription != high quality

      "Moving to a subscription service would in theory force the BBC to produce high quality output,"

      That works so well for Sky 1, less than 2% of viewing time, and how many programs do Sky actually make? (Sky Sports doesn't count).

      Every historic evidence is that subscription would mean low quality, chase market share programming like "big brother", popular USA imports (a foreign culture at the end of the day). If you want only subscription TV, then you better scrap the idea of Public Service Broadcasting. The USA PSB channel is emasculated.

      1. Tim Almond

        Re: Subscription != high quality

        "and how many programs do Sky actually make?"

        Who cares? Starbucks aren't growing coffee beans in Colombia. Tesco isn't milking cows. My local shoe shop doesn't have a cobbler out the back.

        All that matters is whether people like what they give people, and you know, there seems to be a lot more love for Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire than Tumble.

    5. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      "But would I think lead to less people subscribing as and when they needed to tighten their belts for whatever reason"

      But the number of "it's worth it for Radio 4 alone" comments here shows how much more revenue it could get.

      You can do the modelling for yourself on the back of an envelope. We've done it before (search for Elstein). Even with 20-30pc refuseniks you're looking at a lot more money, because it's cheaper than all the other subscription services. Would you cancel the BBC before you cancelled Netflix.

      It's smart to jump before you're pushed sometimes. But if you were smart you probably wouldn't be in BBC strategy.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop Sky Subsidy!

    Isn't it about time Sky paid full whack for BBC programs instead of getting them for free?

    1. chrspy

      Re: Stop Sky Subsidy!

      I wonder how many would continue with their Sky subscriptions if they were not able to get the BBC through Sky ...?????

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Moving to a subscription service would in theory force the BBC to produce high quality output"

    I suspect it would lead to even more dumbing down.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't seem to get past Radio 4

    And you don't have to pay for that. And best of all I can listen to that via the Internet *where ever* I go in Europe (and I get around a bit).

    TV's only talking heads in any case.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I can't seem to get past Radio 4

      Yes and it's on a road to nowhere...

  12. Snivelling Wretch

    Actually, aside from being aged 75+, there are a couple of other exemptions/discounts for the blind and people in residential care https://www.gov.uk/free-discount-tv-licence.

    The thing that I don't understand now, is that you can watch iPlayer or live streaming without a licence. Not *legally*, but it just asks you if you have one and you say "yeah, sure, whatever". I wonder if any research has been done into the number of people watching like this without a licence? Wouldn't it help the revenues to have to login to the site with a valid TV licence code? (Obviously various controls to limit abuse, etc, etc).

    1. Ossi

      Actually, it's perfectly legal to watch iPlayer without a licence, as long as you're not watching the current broadcast. iPlayer never asks if you have a Licence.

  13. TheProf
    Unhappy

    40 pence worth.

    The BEEB costs about 40 pence a day. That's cheaper than buying a daily newspaper. The trouble I have is that the BBC produce hundreds of good quality, highly thought of TV programmes that I have no interest in watching. The few I did (until recently) enjoy have been 'dumbed down' for the worse. (I won't list the ones I liked. It'll cause arguments.)

    I stopped buying and reading newspapers because I don't like what they publish. The BBC, for all their excellent programmes, have followed.

    How about a slot in the top of the telly into which I could pop my 40p when I want to watch something?

    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: 40 pence worth.

      "How about a slot in the top of the telly into which I could pop my 40p when I want to watch something?"

      Somewhere a hipster has just had an orgasm thanks to your comment!

      FWIW I think that you are describing what will become the death of Auntie as we know her.

  14. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Meh

    I never thought I'd say this..

    But it might serve them right. Or at least wake them up. A brilliant history of programme making with some world-class output BUT this has diminished significantly in the last few years.

    Exhibit "A" is the "content free" web site where celebrity "news" gets equal billing with world-changing events. More depressingly, there seems to be almost no analysis to speak of - just parroting press releases. John Simpson's excellent context setting articles used to be a regular feature on the site and TV/radio, but now?

    Every time I see a shot of the newsroom with dozens of people sitting at computers I can't help wondering, "What are they all doing?"

  15. flearider
    Flame

    good bye

    well I really don't watch it ..most everything I do watch is streamed ..for when I want to watch it ..

    I hate paying over bloated fat cats there wage for what 1950's tv programs .. look at what we have on ?? still the same stuff your mother watched ..

    make them fight for the money it would soon become a stream lined .it makes more than it really needs off us and we don't even get to know what there being paid yet it's a public service ..

    so many things wrong trash it start anew

  16. All names Taken
    Alien

    Feeding frenzy

    In an ideal world publicly funded stuff would operate ideally (okay, it's a truism?) but in the real world publicly funded means getting ripped off with no ethics at all.

    For example, look at the t'internet - all lov n pees man n no naught stuff there is there?

    In the UK public funds merely provide a feeding frenzy snatched by the greedy?

  17. Ledswinger Silver badge

    "which have just won a smashing democratic endorsement"

    I take it that's sarcasm?

    Lightweight Dave won simply because he wasn't Ed Miiliband. Nobody knew what either parties' actual policies would be in any detail, nobody had a scooby about what their plans would cost, nor how those plans would be paid for.

    To give credit where is due: I'm sure that nobody on the left of the political spectrum likes anything about Cameron, and in that respect he has united the nation, because everybody I know of a right wing persuasion feels quite similarly.

  18. jacobbe

    Football, Reality TV and soaps have the biggest budgets!

    The BBC was not created to make populist entertainment, but this is essentially what most of its budget is now wasted on. The Biggest budget shows are:-

    Match of the Day = £75 million a year to make,

    EastEnders = £30 million a year to make,

    The Voice = £25 million a year to make,

    Casualty = £22 million a year to make,

    Strictly Come Dancing = £10 million a year to make.

    IE Nothing which couldnt be made by, or is not already catered by commercial channels.

    Why are we being taxed to watch dancing celebrities?

    Let iTV show premier football and make the mind-numbing talent shows! Stop wasting our tax money!

  19. Planty Bronze badge

    keen for a pay for you watch.

    95% of what is on the beeb is throwaway trash TV. Happy to only psy for the 5% that isn't time filller TV. If this means waiting and subscribing for 1 month a year and watching it all in one go, that works too.

    Either way, I'm not funding strictly horsecrap or EastEnders.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Seinfeld and The Wire and the Simpsons

    Do those programmes justify the BBC's special funding model? I suppose it's nice to be able to watch foreign imports without adverts, but any subscription channel would be able to offer that too.

    Perhaps we trust the BBC to select good programmes from around the world for us to watch? Maybe - but there's a lot of dross it shows (and commissions) as well.

    If the BBC wants to justify the licence fee it needs to stop trying to compete with lowest-common-denominator commercial TV. And if there is not enough quality TV to go around, then turn off one of the channels.

  21. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    The BBC helps keep program standards up

    As the BBC is free to watch (and listen to) and does not carry outside advertising, it puts some limits on how bad a pay-TV channel can be. If the program quality is too bad or the advertisments too intrusive then people will watch the BBC instead. The presence of the BBC stops many channels from being as bad as the US ones (40 minutes of advertising in a 60 minute program).

    The BBC also carries good quality regional programs that would probably never be produced in a pay-TV system.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only reservation I have about the license fee...

    No one should have to choose between public service TV and eating properly. In that respect, I'd prefer to see a more progressive system. OTOH, like others here I have no issue whatsoever with paying the licence fee in return for ad free news and entertainment.

  23. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Issue?

    The main issues might be that in almost everything paid by public funds as soon as there is a shift downwards in public money going to that sector/organisation/woteva we are accustomed to hear things like "Reduction in service, increase in waiting times, longer queues, less frequent service, ... "

    I'd guess that any one in private sector might be a bit stunned as change in customer buying habits sort of happens all the time (Tesco anyone?) and striving to keep in operational budget, pay the wages and meet customer demands all have to be balanced. Even if it does mean a reduction in wages.

    When was the last time you ever heard an NHS consultant, doctor, surgeon, manager, ... say something like "Yes, it will be an X% reduction in my income but I work for the NHS, take public money and will do my best to make sure no patients are affected... "

    The same goes for any publicly funded service -

  24. EL Vark

    Be Watchful

    Whether you watch or not. Successive federal governments in Canada have decimated the once proud CBC. There have been a host of "reasons", but political ideology has been the greatest factor. Regional radio operations were the first to fall, then local TV affiliates with the effect of no local/regional news and programming, only the feeds from the nearest large urban centre, the number of which have been shrinking (not the centres, the extant broadcast hubs), and most recently what was once our FM band, which had been rebranded as "CBC 2", and is now an internet/sat channel. Once the brush had been cleared, the axes began to swing and heads rolled in the heart of the MotherCorp with no end, or answers in sight. Just the inevitable, soul crushing wait for further cuts (found in nearly every budget). We're not very far away, not far at all, from having no genuine national news service, having to rely solely on For Profit sources (news that reports to shareholders, that is, as opposed to the public), about which there have been some recent ridiculously juicy scandals that include on-air corruption (Global) and top-down interference (CTV). Soon, no one will be left to watch the watchers.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: keen for a pay for you watch.

      ...and what was your plan when the viewers that do watch only popular TV like Strictly and Eastenders decide they're no longer prepared to subsidise your viewing?

    2. Gerry 3

      Re: The BBC helps keep programME standards up

      >"As the BBC is free to watch..."

      Expect a knock on the door soon from TV Licensing, unless you're watching everything online in catch-up mode !

      >"... the US ones (40 minutes of advertising in a 60 minute programME)."

      It's true that US programmes often contain large amounts of adverts, but I doubt very much that you'd find 40 minutes anywhere, and it's certainly not typical.

    3. Rol Silver badge

      Re: The BBC helps keep program standards up

      Can't help but agree with your sentiments.

      Consider how convoluted a consumer affairs programme would be on advert paid TV as they could only ever slate products from companies that don't advertise with them, or are ever likely to.

      Top Gear would be just a back slapping fest with no product slagging or negative content what-so-ever.

      Hardly what I would call informative, if the true picture is obscured by worries over upsetting the sponsors, not unlike the current state where the government feels empowered to replace the balance of the BBC with an ethical black hole, because they hold the money and they want a different tune.

      Perhaps we should remind our masters, it's actually OUR money you're using in a threatening manner?

    4. Cari

      Re: Be Watchful

      The Beeb is already well on their way to that, at least in terms of their news reporting.

    5. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: I never thought I'd say this..

      I've just taken a look at the updated site layout. I thought it couldn't get any worse (dumber), but I was wrong.

  25. sean.fr

    Most other European countries have state fees. In France it is collected with taxes, but you can opt out if you do not have a telly. A fee set for several years gives some independance, national TV from an annually set tax will become government TV. French state TV does not ask the hard questions the BBC does. He who pays the piper picks th tune. If you pull funding, from the BBC, market forces will drive budgets down. It is just cheaper to buy in US TV. Some US stuff is very very well done, eg "the Americains", Jon Stewart. The Mentalist". But for every "NCIS" there are lots of very simple and cheap - "Storage Wars", "Ice Road", "Pawn Stars", "keeping up with the ?" forgetable TV, and repeats. See for yourself by googling tonights New York TV guide.

    Your sense of identity is in part made by what you see. In mainland Europe as the cheap bought in material material needs dubbing, it stuff comes from all over the world, particularly from other non English speaking Europe. This gives us the impression we are Europeans.

    In an English speaking country, you will just get US stuff as it does not need dubbing. This gives you the impression that you understand and are close to the USA. However, in daily life, In England, life is like Europe. You may understand the USA, they have no idea of British life. Look at the arguements against universal heath care, and you will see.

    If you view culture is a product like white goods, you will let the market decide. If you want to see your culture reflected on the TV, and exported in Top Gear, you need to protect the home market.

    .

  26. Tromos

    Shabby treatment of F1 fans

    Following the change to Formula 1 coverage, I would like to pay half the license fee as normal and make a late and reduced payment to cover the other half.

  27. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Some Ideas.... Open up the Satellite(s), again to allow those who actually don't live in the UK to watch it again... And, perhaps... Just perhaps encrypt it in such a way as that you have to register for a Smart Card, to view it, and by proxy either pay over the odds for this "Service", or at least the going rate of ₤145.50 a Year. 'cause I thought nationalism died at the E.U.

  28. x 7 Silver badge

    whats a TV licence? I've never had one.....

  29. martinusher Silver badge

    Remember Radio Licenses?

    It wasn't too many years ago that you had to buy a license for your radio. Same deal -- you got a radio, you had to buy a license so you could help fund the BBC. In theory you bought one license per radio but that typically meant one for the house and one for your car.

    This fell apart because radios became so common they were untraceable -- the license became unenforceable. So the focus shifted to television with a higher fee for colour. The problem is that television as we knew it no longer exists, its a dying technology. The license fee will probably work for a few years more because the technology has a long tail but the end will be sudden and very swift.

    PS -- I never liked the radio license because it licensed me to listen to "authorized broadcast stations" -- I don't like the government telling me what to listen to or watch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shabby treatment of F1 fans

      Do what I do, watch it on RTL with Radio 5 live commentary. Free. You will have to suffer occasional adverts breaks in the visual coverage, but you still have the commentary. £450 a year saving and you aren't sending money to evil sky.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Shabby treatment of F1 fans

        This is the kinda sh--! that pisses me off... as Germany is the only One actually sharing anything, with the rest of Europe. We have to pay over the odds to fund 27 different WDR's over Astra... Some even in HD! But, will most people ever get to watch this Tripe...

        Ughh no... 'Cause the Cable Companies have a bug up their arse, that the these Broadcasters just aren't paying them enough to host 'em. Add to this the rather sick joke that's called Common Interface+ (i.e. HD+), where said RTL lives in HD is also encrypted. and has so many restrictions about recording, of fast-forwarding though the crappy Commercials. e.g. YOU CAN'T!

        Is it any wonder why everyone's moving to find a decent VPN to host US Netflix?

        I swear if it weren't for the Tagesschau(24) (News / News Channel), I'd be right off broadcast TV.

        The BBC was at One time a bright spot, of entertainment. But, since they finally shrunk the beam in 2011 (IIRC), its no longer available to me here in Frankfurt. (Well not on my Sqush Dish anyways).

        But, as a E.U. Citizen I'd be temped to take up such an offer were it available.

        It makes me wonder why the E.U. hasn't already mandated this. As other big offenders here would be the Austrians and, the Swiss. who eat our sh-- and encrypt their stuff, so as the rest of the German speaking community can go get bent!

  30. phil dude
    WTF?

    see my argument for music....

    The BBC has a VAST catalogue - of course some IDIOT (there are probably nastier words for the manager....) deleted old BBC programmes to save space, but perhaps someone in the know could give us a guess?

    For Top of the Pops, playing an episode from decades ago, to amuse some I suppose must keep down the budget.

    We have saturation - the BBC has lasted this long because it has been able to get talent "discounted" by hiring talent young and then develop it. See for a prime example Monty Python, HHG2G, Spooks maybe.... Notice the number of production "on behalf" of BBC uses?

    The dilution we see in media (taking 1 hour programme from 1970 and making it into 3 hours today), is what happens when accountants get involved in artistic output.

    And remember there are those in the Govt who have pension plans that need the BBC to fail...

    P.

  31. jason 7

    I just don't watch...

    ...the BBC anymore.

    I don't like Dr Who, I don't cooking or baking. I don't like X list celebs dancing like twats. I don't like Sherlock. I don't like Greg Wallace and I stopped watching Top Gear a few years ago when it because the same show every week (not that that's an issue anymore). I don't watch sport and the news isn't that good either. I've watched every episode of Family guy 18 times (thats not even a BBC show) and they are still 4 seasons behind on Parks & Recreation.

    Chris Evans isn't funny, Jeremy Vine is annoying and Steve Wright should have been put down a long time ago.

    So at 44 I just feel the BBC doesn't really have me as part of their demographic. So now Prime and Netflix have me as a full time customer. I don't bother with Sky by the way.

    At £150.00 I'd rather drop the license fee and take up another streaming subscription.

    Seriously thinking of cancelling the direct debit.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: see my argument for music....

      of course some IDIOT (there are probably nastier words for the manager....) deleted old BBC programmes to save space

      Not idiocy but economics. Most of the deletions were because video tape cost a fortune at the time, and after the standard union-agreed 3 (or 4? I forget) re-runs they had to renogotiate repeat fees with each cast member at considerable time and expense before a programme could be shown again. It made perfect economic sense just to wipe and re-use the tapes once the programme had been shown a few times, they had no idea that VHS and DVD would create a future market selling "classic TV" for home viewing.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: see my argument for music....

        And of course there is that now deleted episode from a time travel programme where our hero visited the future and saw people flocking to buy recordings of old broadcasts... ;)

    2. Tim Almond

      Re: I just don't watch...

      It's the lack of anything much that counts as "must-see"/"must-hear". I'm not sure they were much better when I was a kid, but at least there was the odd nugget in there. The last thing I enjoyed on the BBC was episodes, and that's a show that was created by a couple of Americans and co-produced with the BBC.

      I've set more stuff on Five than I have on the BBC on my PVR this year.

  32. PNGuinn Silver badge
    FAIL

    Corrections andCcomments

    1. The Archers, (which in my very humble educated opinion is utter absolute drivilling CR8P...) is on BBC Radio 4.

    Ya dinnae need a TV licence to watch the Radio y'ken.

    2. Street lighting is the responsibility of the Local Authority. Sanitation not so. That's paid for in the water rates. You pays to have it delivered and you pays to have it taken away after use.

    We've not had tv (and therefore no licence) for over 30 years. STILL get a threatening letter every month or so, which, on a point of principle (long story - won't bore you here, your'e probably bored enough already) I religiously file under WPB. If we get rid of the licence we get rid of a vast band of enforcement NAZIs. The radio licence was abolished because it cost too much to collect. I wonder how much of the TV tax goes to collection and inforcement?

    The elephant in the room is this. Catchup tv. The Beeb would really really like to make this licencable. Then thay could demand that every device which can receive catchup tv.... Waddya mean your smart toaser.... There must be a hell of a lot of places that don't have a tv which could fall into that net.

    There's a precedent. The legislation originally referred to terrestrial broadcasting, which excluded satellite. Law was soom changed when that loophole emerged.

    I might be accused of being a freeloader, but as the BBC seems to be determined to chase the commercial stations below the lowest common denominator I plead not guilty m'lud.

  33. All names Taken
    Alien

    One possible trouble ?

    One possible trouble may be that as such a large number of employees in broadcast sector are paid by public money that sets a framework and earnings structure that the private sector might never ever be able to reach?

    For example: retail: it spans a range from the occasional market stall seller to Harrods, House of Fraser and quite a lot of others inbetween.

    Public money always has this effect on the domestic talent in the sector it is embedded?

  34. ITfarmer

    I dont pay TV Tax

    You will NEVER get the state broadcaster away from HMG - you would have to be a complete idiot to even begin to think any government would stop the massive propaganda opportunity paid for at YOUR expense.

    It comes across that may of you posting on here neither understand the TV licensing law nor understand WHY people like me don't watch TV - I don't watch ANY TV other than when I have the misfortune to watch it at my old folks - I'm 47.

    It also comes across that you neither want to understand and seek to punish people who don't want to watch the TV garbage.

    You need a TV license to watch any live broadcast - which means you DO NOT need a TV license to watch recorded or catch up TV. God knows why anyone would want to watch this rubbish I don't know but hey if you want to fair enough - I don't even know where these players are and I'm not interested either.

    Note the difference between a mass audience of a broadcast and a single audience with a recording.

    I don't have a TV license.

    I realised one day that although I had a TV license & Virgin Cable TV I never watched TV at all or if I did I just flicked over the channels and found nothing was on.

    Must be almost 10 years ago now.

    Since that time I watch a lot of content from YouTube - educational, games, montages, music

    Niche tailored sites - Anime, Films, Engineering, Welding, Lathing etc

    Play video games, watch tournaments, MMOs etc.

    Browse the net.

    Recently been watching a lot of Astronomy & Maths - specific video content from lecture halls in Nottingham, MIT, NASA etc.

    On any given day I can watch what I'm interested in not be fed whatever junk some over paid liberal elite down London thinks I should be see or listen to.

    It's surprising how biased and staged TV seems when I do see it at the old folks - especially the news.

    However I get threatened with court action from the BBC regularly and have even had a man come to the door expecting to see my "equipment" - ultimately with powers to search the premises when they get a court order.

    The world has moved on from the 70s - the fact the same oldies are being highlighted on TV for awards, film awards, music awards and the repeats should already have told you something - the new producers, director, script writers are working elsewhere doing new content and there is a very large amount of it.

    I don't think I've scratched the surface TBH and I'm sure there are many things I don't even realise exists.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: I dont pay TV Tax

      I don't pay either,

      But I wouldn't mind if they slapped a PPV access charge on iPlayer, although my kids would watch alot less CBBC if they did ;)

      At least in part this would be to offset the actual cost of the IP infrastructure and costs, in the same way that some of the license is to fund the broadcast infratstructure and running costs...

  35. gerdesj Silver badge

    Auntie forever

    Some pretty negative comments here against the Beeb. As it turns out I suspect that the shy Tory voters in the UkoGB might invoke shy BBC apologists.

    I hate hipsters but YOU WILL TEAR MY BEEB FROM my err YOUR DEAD COLD FINGERS.

    I don't care that the TV license is a bit steep (well I do a bit - it's not accessible for really low wage earners). Despite how many oddballs work in the BBC and despite how it is funded and despite quite a few other factors, it still manages to work quite well for a lot of local viewers.

    It also manages to command a respect - worldwide - that many broadcasters would kill for.

    You?

    1. Cari

      Re: Auntie forever

      If the Beeb could actually be impartial, and were accountable when their shoddy and weaselly reporting harms your average citizen that can't afford to take them to court, I'd actually have no problem with them or the license (aside from they way the enforce and collect it). As it stands though, they're near the top of my shitlist.

    2. TheTick

      Re: Auntie forever

      So presumably you would willingly pay for it if it was a subscription based model?

      Then why are so many people afraid of that ever happening?

  36. Rol Silver badge

    We know you, you know!

    No you bloody well don't. The Tories don't know jack shit about the majority of Britain's feelings.

    The British public hated the Poll Tax, yet it happened all the same. It was rejected, hated, railed and rallied against until it finally went. Conversely the British public have no desire to see the demise of the BBC, yet our overlords think otherwise.

    If it is just a matter of making the burden of paying for it fairer, then why not bundle it into general taxation and pass a bill making proper funding obligatory for every incumbent at number ten, regardless of whether the BBC supports their warped ideologies or not.

    Arrghh! Those money worshipping soulless serpents ...five more dreadful years of jackboot government.. is there no relief, we need International Rescue, but weren't they on he other side (ITV)

    1. jason 7

      Re: We know you, you know!

      Actually I quite liked the Poll Tax and to be honest I think it's a lot more fair than the current system.

      Especially now that many younger people are having to live at home with mum and dad way past 18.

      Poll tax spreads the burden.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: We know you, you know!

      The British public hated the Poll Tax,

      That's a completely unjustified generalization. I know many people (me included) who were very happy with it, it would have cost me much less.

      The problem with any tax change is that there are winners and losers, and those who had to pay more of course hated it. Needless to say, they were the vocal ones, you obviously didn't see people out demonstrating because their tax bills went down...

      not bundle it into general taxation and pass a bill making proper funding obligatory

      Who defines "proper" ? It has to be Parliament as a whole, not Government, and since general taxation is defined by the budget that tends to be a Government matter. If BBC funding became just a line item in the budget it would be very open to abuse by the party in power.

      we need International Rescue, but weren't they on he other side

      Ah, but who was pulling their strings (literally)?

      1. Rol Silver badge

        Re: We know you, you know!

        Might you be referring to the benign masters of Supermarionation, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson.

        Did they ever get some consideration from Nintendo for blatantly pinching the name, I wonder.

    3. graeme leggett Silver badge

      Re: We know you, you know!

      "It was rejected, hated, railed and rallied against"

      You forgot "rioted".

      1. jason 7

        Re: We know you, you know!

        Yes when you look at the photos from back then I think a lot of people rioting just preferred it if their Dad just paid the tax instead of them having to pay something.

  37. Syntax Error

    People who pay to watch TV are wasting their money. License fee, Sky subscription. Crazy.

  38. James Cane

    I'm don't drive. Why should I fund roads?

    I'm not a woman. Why should I fund maternity services?

    I don't take trains. Why should I fund the railways?

    I don't like foreigners. Why should I fund the aid budget?

    I'm not disabled. Why should I fund disability benefits?

    What a bunch of selfish, petty-minded scrooges.

    As well as being excellent value for money, the BBC keeps the standards of the competition from dropping even further into the pit than they already are. If we give it up, we can never have it back again.

    1. TheTick

      "I'm don't drive. Why should I fund roads?"

      Err...you don't - car and fuel taxes do

      "I'm not a woman. Why should I fund maternity services?"

      Because maternity services are far more important and useful than Strictly Come Dancing

      "I don't take trains. Why should I fund the railways?"

      You shouldn't (I'm no expert, but you probably don't)

      "I don't like foreigners. Why should I fund the aid budget?"

      Charity should not be forced upon us by the state, it's not charity then. And we all know "aid" goes mainly into the pockets of kleptocrats and bureaucrats.

      "I'm not disabled. Why should I fund disability benefits?"

      Because helping the truly disadvantaged is a sign of civilization, and far better than the aforementioned Strictly.

      Your comparisons are ridiculous. The BBC is a media organisation not an emergency service. And as you are so keen on it, surely you would be willing to voluntarily pay for it, wouldn't you? Or is it just that you want *other people* to pay for your stuff as well?

    2. Tim Almond

      You're honestly comparing a public healthcare system with Homes Under the Hammer? You really think we should view The Voice as a public good, without which we would feel like a poorer and less decent society? You really feel we need to imprison people for not opting for Masterchef and watching The IT Crowd instead?

      You think it's excellent value for money? I think the works of Mark E Smith are excellent value for money. Why doesn't everyone subsidise my purchase of the new CD by The Fall?

  39. codejunky Silver badge

    There is hope

    I ditched the licence fee as I refuse to pay for the unnecessary and unused BBC (in our house). The BBC is great value for those who use it just as robbing others to reduce the cost of my goodies makes it great value for me. I feel sorry for other providers having to be commercially viable while competing against the british left wing propaganda provider.

    Yes the BBC provides some good content. I dont like it but I know many who do watch strictly and Dr who etc so even if I dont like them I accept they are good and IPlayer is a pretty good platform. So it should be because all the many people who have no use or interest in the BBC have to pay for it AND pay for the content they actually want.

    If it is good value then the people who use it will accept its real cost and pay for it. Otherwise the facts speak for themselves.

    I am amused at some of the comments suggesting that if you havnt found anything of interest then you need to look harder bla bla bla. Everyone is their own and we have our own interests. Just because you dont want to pay the real cost of your entertainment doesnt mean we should.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Auntie rules

    I trust the BEEB.

    I do not trust any other broadaster (except Ch4 - a bit).

    Obviously the funding has to be reviewed due to the various online routes to viewing content but we need to avoid the advertising model and we need a BBC that is independant enough to annoy the UK Government.

  41. BongoJoe

    Sanitation?

    it’s hard for a resident to avoid sanitation or street lighting.

    Thankfully we don't have street lighting. I can see street lights a few miles away down the valley and it amuses me to think why the people there are frightened of the stars.

    Sanitation. Well, Dŵr Cymru supply the water and the waste goes into the cesspit. Neither of which have little do with the local authority.

    And I still don't watch the BBC nor pay the telly tax.

  42. lorisarvendu

    Paying for what you don't use

    Wow! A lot of comment on this one! The argument that has been raging for years (and no different here) is the old "I don't watch BBC so why should I pay" chestnut. I think one of the reasons this divides people is the two different ways of looking at the BBC. Is it Entertainment or Public Service? If Entertainment, then yeah nobody would pay for a cinema ticket if they had no intention of watching the film. But on the other hand there are plenty of public services we pay for but we don't use. I know that my Council Taxes probably subsidise free bus travel for pensioners. I'm not a pensioner and I don't use the bus, so shouldn't I get a reduction? I don't use the local Leisure Centre Swimming Pool or Gym, so why should I pay for that too?

    If the BBC is seen as a public service broadcaster (and that's what wikipedia's entry says it is) then why shouldn't it be funded in the same way as a public service? I pay my licence fee, but I rarely watch BBC4 or BBC3, and I certainly don't listen to every single one of the local Radio Stations, but I pay the same as everyone else because I have the capability to receive live BBC broadcasts, in the same way as I live in a town with a Council-Tax funded Local Library full of books that I never read. However other people do use these facilities and I don't object to funding their use.

  43. MisterHappy

    Pay for what we use?

    Lots of people saying how they don't watch the BBC, listen to the BBC or even check the BBC website & therefor shouldn't have to pay. Sounds a lot like the old arguments against the Council tax, 'I don't use the library, swimming pool, etc so why do I have to pay towards it?'

    The license fee is £12 a month by direct debit, if you can't afford that then fair enough you should be exempt but not if you have a 60" TV, cupboards full of booze, smoke & have whatever smartphones & tablets are the latest 'in thing'.

    Really fed up with the 'cant put food on the table' argument, yes there are some people who are honestly in dire straights but seeing some overweight idiot puffing on a fag while moaning about no food for their kids is getting very old.

    For the record, I listen to BBC radio in the car but only about 10% of my TV viewing is the Beeb.

  44. jason 7

    Why do all these people still think...

    ...the BBC produces top world quality TV?

    It doesn't. Hasn't for several years now. The BBC's quality has plummeted dramatically over the past 10-15 years. All the great TV shows of the past 10 years...how many would be BBC output?

    I'd put one in there...Luther. That's it. That's the only one that stands up to the output from the USA and even countries like Sweden and Italy.

    Oh and I get to watch Luther on Netflix if I want. I love independent productions...

    Wake up people, the BBC ain't what it used to be. It's pretty damn poor.

    1. lorisarvendu

      Re: Why do all these people still think...

      "Wake up people, the BBC ain't what it used to be. It's pretty damn poor."

      It's possible that the previous Government's decision to freeze the Licence Fee back in 2010 may have had something to with this, which kind of makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy: The BBC is crap, so reduce their revenue, which makes them more crap, so...

    2. jason 7

      Re: Paying for what you don't use

      As a public service Street Lighting and sewage etc. still work much the same as they did 10, 30, 50 years ago. Plus there are no other alternatives that function in a better manner for what they provide.

      The BBC however, is now just not very good. It's golden age is well in the past.

      We have far more options in that area of 'service' than we did 10 years ago. Consumers are making choices and more or us choose to walk away.

      It's not the only game in town anymore. To still be relevant it needs to start producing drama and shows the like of Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock, Orange is the new Black, Bosch, Vikings etc. etc. etc.

      It could even try making proper science documentaries again that don't involve that mop-haired muppet from d:ream having to go to the top of some mountain in Chile to film a 10 second shot explaining something that a info-graphic and a voice over would have done in a less distracting manner on Horizon 20 years ago.

      1. Tachikoma

        Re: Paying for what you don't use

        It could even try making proper science documentaries again that don't involve that mop-haired muppet from d:ream having to go to the top of some mountain in Chile to film a 10 second shot explaining something that a info-graphic and a voice over would have done in a less distracting manner on Horizon 20 years ago.

        A million times this!

        Same applies to BBC radio news where they send a reporter to interview (eg) some random cafe owner and insist on putting sounds of clinking cups and steaming espresso machines in the background (obviously not recorded during the interview) when it could just be a phone interview and save hundreds/thousands.

      2. lorisarvendu

        Re: Paying for what you don't use

        "It's not the only game in town anymore. To still be relevant it needs to start producing drama and shows the like of Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock, Orange is the new Black, Bosch, Vikings etc. etc. etc."

        But it does. Poldark. Wolf Hall. Banished. Last Tango in Halifax. Eve (CBBC). etc. etc. etc.

        Sure you can reply with "but those are rubbish, mine are better", but in the end it's just opinion.

        I know two people personally whose only source of TV is Freeview. Neither of them have SKY or Virgin. One of them is a work colleague with a family, in his 40s, the other is my pensioner mother-in-law in her 70s. They are perfectly happy paying £145 a year for all the TV they watch, as opposed to the minimum £21.50 a month on SKY (almost double). Those are the people the BBC cater for.

        1. jason 7

          Re: Paying for what you don't use

          "Those are the people the BBC cater for."

          Poor sods!

  45. Ol'Peculier

    Don't use the BBC everyday but...

    40p a day.

    For starters there's Doctor Who, Top Gear (RIP), Sherlock, Car Share, The new thing that starts on Sunday that's meant to be pretty good and a shed load of other decent drama's such as Happy Valley. Then there's radio, not just Radio 1 or 2 for the mainstream but stuff such as radio adaptations of Neverwhere and Good Omens, News Quiz, Now Show, Museum of Curiosity, Cabin Pressure et al. I know several people that have Radio 4 on almost 24/7.

    Throw in half of the current F1 season, News 24 and regional news/weather, the BBC website, World Service, BBC Worldwide (yes I know this is taking things a bit far, but I've been in countries where it was the only English speaking channel) and I'm more than happy to fork out my licence fee.

    There does have to be something to stop iPlayer catch up though. Perhaps logging in using your licence GUID and limit it to a certain number of devices, much in the same way Sky, AFAIK does it.

  46. Indolent Wretch

    It's all a manufactured argument by Murdoch and friends. Sure some people feel the license fee is unfair, they probably also feel the same way about VAT, Road Tax, NI, etc. Compared to a full SKY subscription (of which at least 20% of the content is old BBC repeats anyway) it's the sale of the century.

    In exactly the same way as all DINKys I know still pay tax towards the school system I personally don't give a monkeys whether you watch the BBC or not, the country should have a national broadcaster and it should be funded through taxation.

    The simple thing is to remove the bone of contention, set out a possibly slightly more limited remit, legislate that all the profits made by BBC worldwide have to go into program making, kill the license fee, and pay the thing by direct taxation. Legislation to limit a governments ability to slash the amount paid and prohibit interference is also an essential.

    That's a far more progressive solution and makes it far harder for the Sun to bitch about it every 17 minutes.

  47. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Nope. The BBC has a problem.

    I'm watching a lot less telly these days. - more internet = less TV.

    My inclination to watch telly is satisfied by Ch5's Gotham + Person Of Interest. Nothing on the BBC appeals to me.

    As far as 'no adverts' - Balls! Constant promotion of other channels.

    If you are going o have a license, you need to make sure the TV providers are competing for the money and delivering programmes that people are watching. The BBC is nothing more than large statist bureaucracy that does entertainment as a side line.

  48. RoninRodent

    I haven't owned a TV in more than 15 years (am 38) as the quality of all of the channels was so poor it just wasn't worth it to me at least. Endless repeats, rubbish soaps and when reality TV started replacing all of the other content I just threw in the towel. I kept paying the fee for a few years as they kept threatening me with things like "if you have a computer you need a licence". In the end I figured bring it on.

    Inspector 1 turns up with a skip in his step thinking he had caught somebody. He visibly deflated when I offered him tea and asked him to help himself to the cupboards and attic.

    Nothing for a few years and another one turned up and this one also thought he had bagged a winner. He actually looked angry when he left.

    Not heard from them since.

    I have not used the iPlayer once. I might cast an eye over the "news" (I use the term loosely) section of their website on really slow day at work if I run out of internet to read but honestly they could shut it down tomorrow and it would be months until I noticed.

    On the plus side I barely know who Simon Cowell is and don't see what the fuss is over things like X Factor and Britain's Got Talent. They can't be that bad can they? :)

    1. ITfarmer

      When I go to the old folks who watch TV I'll go do the washing up, take their dogs for a walk or watch the nature outside the windows rather than watch the junko box.

  49. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Retail nightmare?

    Imagine it if Whitehall were responsible for retail in the UK.

    Do we in the UK really, really want and deserve such a system to be maintained and funded from UK tax dollars?

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