Households choose to keep £159 licence fee after BBC experiment – ‘Great value!’

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A study commissioned by the BBC cut off access to services provided by the public broadcaster to 80 homes. This included all vital services from the BBC, including television, radio, apps, podcasts and online. For nine days, including two full weekends, just under 200 people had to go without using the BBC to see whether their opinions on the licence fee would change as a result.

Conducted by MTM, homes were also told not to watch other BBC content that is featured on services such as YouTube and Netflix.

For their time taking part in the experiment, the test subjects were awarded the equivalent of the licence fee for the days they went without the BBC.

Overall, this came to around £3.90 for each participant. Currently, the licence fee remains at £159 per household.

Upon analysis of the study’s results, 70 percent of participants who admitted that they were sceptical of the BBC, or who would prefer to pay less, changed their opinions and said they would continue to pay the licence free.

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This comes following a great deal of scrutiny and criticism over the TV licence fee from the Government, particularly from Culture secretary Nadine Dorries.

Earlier this year, Ms Dorries announced the decision to temporarily freeze the licence fee for two years while the Government explored alternative funding options.

With the results of this experiment, many in the BBC will be hoping that the Government will be convinced that the licence fee should remain.

Speaking to the i, a source from the BBC said: “We know from our audiences – whether it’s fearless reporting from Ukraine; a love of Strictly; World Cups; or turning to Bitesize – that a universal BBC has a unique place in UK life.


“No one is complacent – we know we have to earn that support, provide something for everyone and continue to offer great value.”

In a statement issued by BBC chairman Richard Sharp and the broadcaster’s director-general Tim Davie earlier this year, the organisation passionately defended the existence of the licence fee.

The pair said: “Given the breadth of services we provide, the licence fee represents excellent value for money. There are very good reasons for investing in what the BBC can do for the British public and the UK around the world.

“A freeze in the first two years of this settlement means the BBC will now have to absorb inflation.

“That is disappointing – not just for Licence Fee payers, but also for the cultural industries that rely on the BBC for the important work they do across the UK.”

They added: “The BBC’s income for UK services is already 30 percent lower in real terms than it was 10 years ago.

“We will set out the implications of the settlement later, before the end of the financial year, but it will necessitate tougher choices which will impact Licence Fee payers.

“While there will be challenges, we do have the financial stability of the Licence Fee, which is crucial. 

“We have the certainty of a six-year deal for the funding of the BBC: two years cash flat and four years keeping pace with inflation.”

As part of a media conference tomorrow, Mr Davie will present the results as a reason why the licence fee should remain in place.

This will be done in the hopes that Government ministers will change their minds over scrapping the fee in 2027. has contacted the BBC asking for comment.


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