It’s official - you now need a TV licence to watch iPlayer

It’s 1 September, which means the ‘iPlayer loophole’ has officially closed. From today, you need a TV licence to watch anything on BBC iPlayer, including catch-up and on-demand shows.

While in the past it was fine to watch on-demand stuff on iPlayer without a licence, that's now changed. The maximum penalty for doing so is a £1,000 fine (£2,000 in Guernsey and £500 in Jersey) plus legal costs and compensation - so it's definitely time to get registering for a licence if you don't have one already.

A BBC spokesperson said: "At present, a pop-up window appears asking viewers to confirm they've got a TV licence when they click to play live BBC content on iPlayer, and from today, that will update to include on-demand BBC programmes on iPlayer.

"The vast majority of households - around 94% - are already licensed so this change will not affect them."

To be clear, you need a TV licence if you want to:

  • Watch or record live TV on a television set, including Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, and YouView
  • Watch live TV on iPlayer on any device
  • Watch catch-up and on-demand content on iPlayer on any device
  • Watch BBC Three content
  • Watch live TV on another app like ITV Hub, All4, or Sky Go

But you don't need one if you want to:

  • View video clips elsewhere on the BBC website
  • Watch films or TV programmes that you bought from the BBC Store
  • Watch catch-up and on-demand shows on ITV Hub, All4, Sky Go, and so on
  • Watch other on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon Prime
  • Listen to BBC Radio services

How to get a TV licence

Sign up for a TV licence at It costs £145.50 per year for a colour telly, though there are quarterly, monthly, and weekly pricing plans available, and reductions for care home residents and anyone registered blind.

It's also free for over-75s, though you'll still need to register for a licence.

Source: BBC | TV Licensing

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