BBC iPlayer users are legally required to pay the licence fee from September
BBC iPlayer viewers will be required to buy a TV licence from September 1, 2016.
Previously, iPlayer viewers were not required to pay for a licence due to a loophole which meant that only live television required payment. Catch-up programmes found on iPlayer did not require a license, whereas watching live or recorded television did.
The change was announced in March by former Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, after the government decided to act on claims that the BBC was losing money through the loophole.
Whittingdale admitted the government needed to modernise the current system, saying: “When the licence fee was invented, video on demand did not exist.
“The BBC works on the basis that all who watch it pay for it. Giving a free ride to those who enjoy Sherlock or Bake Off an hour, a day or a week after they are broadcast was never intended and is wrong.”
The new rules will apply regardless of device, and so include laptops, smartphones, tablets, TV set top boxes and games consoles. Customers already paying for a TV licence will not be affected.
However, the loophole still exists for non-BBC viewers. Other catch-up and on-demand services will continue to not require a TV licence, including ITV Player, All4, My5, Netflix and NOW TV.