Boris Johnson said that a possible cancellation of the BBC license fee needs to be "considered."
Speaking at a rally in Sunderland, the Prime Minister asked how “justified” can be more long-term financing of the television company from the “general tax”.
Ministers agreed that the license fee will be valid until at least 2027, when the Royal Air Force Charter expires
The color TV license fee is currently £ 154.50 per year. This will grow in line with inflation until 2022.
License fee revenue was £ 3.6 billion for the BBC in 2018–9, accounting for approximately 75% of the broadcaster’s revenue and funding for TV, radio, and online content. Last year, 25.8 million households had television licenses.
The government and the BBC are currently participating in dispute on financing free television licenses for people over 75,
Mr. Johnson asked the public if he would consider giving up all television licenses.
The Prime Minister said that although he would not draw up a policy three days before the election, this is a question that should be “looked at” in the future.
“You should ask yourself whether this approach to financing a media company in the long term makes sense, given how other organizations manage to finance themselves,” he said.
“The financing system based on the general tax requires reflection. How long can you justify a system in which everyone with a TV has to pay to finance a specific set of television and radio channels. ”
Over the years, various alternatives to license fees have been offered, including subscription services or a mandatory broadcast fee.
For election campaigns, it is customary to strain the relationship between the BBC and anyone else in the government.
But the emergence of social networks, where criticism of the BBC often becomes viral, and the growth of streaming giants that use a different model have recently increased pressure on the BBC.
The same goes for the Prime Minister’s refusal to interview Andrew Neil for the BBC. Last week, Mr. Neal, who interviewed all other party leaders, challenged Mr. Johnson and showed an empty chair.
This clip has been viewed several million times on social networks. No. 10 did not appreciate so much and doubled its position.
Attracted by the Internet, many young viewers now spend much more time on Netflix or YouTube than watching BBC services. This poses a serious, possibly existential, problem for the BBC in the long run.
The BBC has always argued, however, that license fees are vital to its model of public services and that if it switches to a subscription model, it will be mandatory only for those who can afford a subscription, and not the whole country.
Sooner or later, a decision needs to be made about how best the BBC can compete and satisfy the British public in today's global media. It is probably best for the discussion to take place when there is no election.
During the last update of the Charter in 2016, the government stated that the license fee is likely to become “less sustainable in the long run.”
Although the ministers said there were no plans to replace it with a subscription model, they said that the BBC should be given the opportunity to examine whether to make any content available only by subscription.
In their manifesto, the Laborites declare that this will ensure a “healthy future” for all public broadcasters, while the Liberal Democrats promise to “protect the BBC’s independence and create a BBC licensing fees commission.”
The Brexit party is committed to “waive” the license fee.