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TV licence fee statistics

Published Thursday, October 5, 2017

This briefing provides statistics on the TV licence fee and general television viewing trends. TV licence fee revenues grew from £3.5 billion in 2010/11 to £3.8 billion in 2016/17 (in cash terms).Total BBC income in 2016/17 was £4.95 billion. TV licence fee revenues accounted for around 76% of total income.

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Summary

This briefing provides statistics on the TV licence fee and general television viewing trends. The Licence fee concessions and payment amounts are set by Parliament under the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004.[1] As described in a BBC Trust publication:

“People must be covered by a licence to watch or record live TV on any device, including computers and smartphones”[2]

Currently annual TV licence fee is £147 (for colour TV licence).

Key points

Licence fee revenues reached £3.8 billion in 2017

TV licence fee revenues grew from £3.5 billion in 2010/11 to £3.8 billion in 2016/17 (in cash terms). The share of DWP grant as proportion of total licence income remained stable at around 16%, since 2010/11.

Licence fee accounts for three-quarters of BBC funding in 2016/17

Total BBC income in 2016/17 was £4.95 billion. TV licence fee revenues accounted for around 76% of total income. Around 17% of licence fee income was reimbursed by the Department for Work and Pensions to cover the cost of free licences for over 75s.

95% of households own a TV in 2017

In January 2017, around 27 million or 95% of all households in the UK owned a TV set. The number of households owning a TV increased by 4.7 times over the last 60 years, from just under 6 million in 1956 when only 36% of all households had a TV.

Estimated TV licence evasion rate was between 6.2% and 7.2% in 2015/16

The BBC’s Licence Fee Unit has estimated that overall evasion rate in 2015/16 was between 6.2% and 7.2%. The highest level was recorded in Scotland (10%) and Northern Ireland (9%). The evasion rate in England and Wales was around 6%.

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[1] TV licensing, FOI - Who decides which groups get a concession on the licence fee?, accessed 05.09.2017

[2] BBC Trust, TV licence fee collection, 23 January 2017, p. 12

 

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8101

Author: Lukas Audickas

Topics: Broadcasting, Information technology, Media, Press

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