Skip to main content

The BBC iPlayer fee and young people’s media use

"The iPlayer loophole is a fascinating issue not in the least because the public debate seems to be focusing on young people’s media use and new ways of accessing television via streaming platforms. I’ll be interested to see if there is an increase in licence fee purchases over the next month or so, especially as there doesn’t seem to have been a strong effort to encourage cash-strapped young people to pay up. (That seems to be the targeted demographic for this.)

"The broader narrative sets up iPlayer as a content platform, comparable to (the less expensive) Netflix. Closing the loophole hasn’t been presented as an opportunity to contribute to the BBC’s diverse, valuable, and internationally-respected production work; instead, the issue is presented as a legal obligation for access to iPlayer, trying to ignore the Netflix-sized elephant in the room. I can absolutely understand why, on a student budget or living with crushing student loan repayments, paying a licence fee for access to iPlayer isn’t an attractive option for young people for whom streaming and on-demand is the primary method of watching television."

Dr Charlotte Stevens, the Department of Film and Television Studies