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BBC face crisis as 237,000 families stop paying licence fee costing £40million
THE BBC has lost nearly £40million in income as 237,000 less households are paying the licence fee than they did last year. In order to watch or record live television in the UK each household needs a £157.50 TV licence. However, there is speculation an increasing number of families are instead spending the money on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime which do not require the licence.
In total the BBC’s licence fee revenue has actually fell by £170 million in the past year due to Government cuts in support that were used to provide free licences to those aged over 75. The BBC is struggling in particular with young people who the report found watch nearly as much content on YouTube as produced by the corporation. Currently the average person aged between 16 and 34 watches just seven and a half hours of BBC content, a figure significantly lower than for older age groups.
Overall, the proportion of the country that watches BBC1 at least once a week fell from 68 percent to 65.4 percent.
BBC2 also suffered a decline from 42.9 percent to 41.9 percent. The only BBC channels which succeeded in increasing their audiences were BBC News and BBC Parliament, likely related to last year’s drama around Brexit.
The report explained: “Young adults watched 11 hours a week on all TV channels on average – decreasing around 75 minutes year on year.
“In contrast, the time they spent using the TV set for subscription video on demand, gaming, YouTube and other purposes increased – up to around 40 minutes per week to just over nine hours weekly on average.”
Whilst its revenue fell the number of senior managers employed by the BBC rose by three to 153. In total 106 of these earn more than £150,000 per year giving them a higher pay than the Prime Minister. Another 76 BBC presenters and personalities also earn more than Boris Johnson. Last year Tim Davie, the incoming BBC director general, earned £642,000 as head of BBC Studios.
Unlike most BBC roles BBC Studios is not funded by licence fee payments and Mr Davie has agreed to take a pay cut in his new position. In a statement the BBC said: “Some measures are not going in the right direction.
“Headcount has increased from 19,231 to 19,572 and senior leader numbers have gone up from 250 to 253.
“As the new director general has said, the BBC will keep a focus on cost reduction so that the public service headcount is smaller.“
“The BBC also has to do more to better serve and reflect all licence fee payers.
“It is critical that the BBC gets this right.”
Earlier this year Defund The BBC was launched to campaign for the decriminalisation of TV licence non-payment.
The group has since picked up over 95,000 followers on Twitter.
Reacting to the news Rebecca Ryan, Defund The BBC’s campaign director, commented: “Whilst the BBC rinses cash-strapped Brits, the rich are getting richer.
“The BBC extracted much of this money from licence fee payers, under threat of harassment and prosecution.
“It is unacceptable that the Corporation see fit to pay such huge salaries.
“In the current climate, with so many people furloughed or facing redundancy or their businesses closing, it is a kick in the teeth to see the BBC being shown such largesse.”