The BBC’s funding model is “completely outdated” and the UK government is ready to implement a new way of funding the public service broadcaster, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has said.
The BBC is primarily funded by licensing fees, which are paid by every UK household that owns a television or consumes BBC content on other devices.
In an interview with The Spectator magazine, Dorries said the royalty model was “completely outdated.”
She said the government “will announce very soon that we are going to take a very serious look at how we fund the BBC” and are “ready to implement a new way of funding the BBC”.
She said the government would look at ways to monitor the media, Ofcom, to ‘hold the BBC to account’ and that decisions on any changes to the funding model would be taken ‘well before’ the BBC’s charter was renewed. in 2027.
UK residents are required to purchase a TV license if they watch or record programs on a TV, computer, tablet, mobile phone or any other device that can receive a TV signal. A TV license is also required to download or watch BBC programs on iPlayer, the broadcaster’s video-on-demand service.
The cost of a license, which covers all devices in a household, is £159 ($198) per year. Failure to pay for a license can result in a fine of up to £1,000 ($1,245). According to the government, while evading a TV license is not in itself an offense punishable by imprisonment and will not lead to a criminal record, “non-payment of the fine imposed for evading a TV license , following a criminal conviction, could lead to a risk of imprisonment”.
John Whittingdale, a Tory MP who served as culture secretary in David Cameron’s government, recently said the levy model “has many flaws”.
Speaking to GB News on April 20, he said the BBC is “an absolutely central pillar of the broadcasting establishment”, but believes its funding model needs to change “because the way people consume the television is changing so quickly”.
“It’s hard to keep justifying why everyone should be forced to pay a royalty,” he said.
The license fee is currently to remain frozen at its current price for two years and then increase in line with inflation for the next four years.
BBC bosses have warned the license fee freeze will leave them with an annual revenue shortfall of £285m ($354m) by 2027-28.
Lily Zhou and PA Media contributed to this report.