Students unsure when to pay TV Licence for streaming
James R | On 19, Aug 2015
Students are unsure whether they need a TV Licence for streaming television, according to a new study.
The report, conducted by TV Licensing, found that the majority of university students cannot tell the difference between what counts as “recorded TV” and what counts as a “catch-up service”.
Over half of those surveyed (56 per cent), for eample, thought that recording a live episode of Game of Thrones to watch later would be an example of “catch-up TV”. However, official definition of the term doesn’t include recording live TV. While this might seem an unimportant distinction to many, such definitions dictate whether or not a TV Licence is needed. The fact that this is the case highlights the current gap between the industry’s regulations and regular viewers – a gap that makes it both harder for the TV Licence to explain its costs in a digital age and also makes the fee seem more irrelevant to average punters.
22 per cent of respondents incorrectly thought streaming the Wimbledon final live on iPlayer would be an example of “catch-up” viewing, while 84 per cent correctly said watching yesterday’s episode of The Only Way is Essex on ITV Player would be an example of “catch-up” TV.
Indeed, catching up with content on BBC iPlayer (or other public service broadcast VOD services) does not currently require a TV Licence, but live-streaming TV through such platforms does. Even this, though, is subject to change, as the BBC’s Royal Charter comes up for renewal, with the government seeking to end these loopholes in the next year. Until then, however, you need a licence to watch or record programmes at the same time as they are shown on TV, or live on an online TV service.
Kim Hayman, spokesperson for TV Licensing, says: “We understand students are streaming, downloading, recording, using catch-up services and watching live TV on devices. There are so many ways to watch the programmes you love, so to help undergraduates decide if they need to buy a licence, we are encouraging them to read the FAQs at tvlicensing.co.uk/studentinfo before the big move.”