The BBC licence fee will rise by £10.50 to £169.50 a year from next April, culture secretary Lucy Frazer has confirmed, after a two-year freeze.
The household payment, which funds much of the corporation’s operations, had been frozen at £159 and had been expected to rise in line with inflation next year. However, that increase, which, at 9%, would have meant an increase of about £15 from April 2024, had been reduced, the government said.
Speaking in the Commons on Thursday, Frazer said the increase would instead be based on September’s consumer prices index (CPI) rate of inflation, which was 6.6%. The news comes after the veteran TV executive Samir Shah was named on Wednesday as the government’s preferred candidate to become chair of the BBC.
Alex Tofts, TV and streaming expert at Broadband Genie, comments:
“An increase to the licence fee has been on the horizon for some months now, but thankfully it won’t take effect until April 2024.
“The reality is that the entertainment industry is becoming increasingly difficult to fund, with both terrestrial and pay-TV providers facing the difficult decision to either increase prices, or pump out more adverts.
“The cost of producing good quality content is increasing, and with the rise of Ultra-HD cinematography, there is even more pressure to create visually appealing programmes and films.
“Streaming customers are not exempt from price rises either, and while a 6.7% increase to the licence fee will be unwelcome news to many, it pales in comparison to the 38% rise facing some Disney+ subscribers this month.
“In fact, Disney+ customers in the UK will collectively see a price rise of up to £274 million per year, followed by £156 million for Amazon Prime members paying monthly, and £53 million for those with Apple TV+
“There are ways to avoid the licence fee rise for those looking to save the pennies. When viewing on-demand channels using your broadband connection, it is only the BBC that requires you to pay the charge. Using services such as Channel 4 On Demand, or ITVX, will allow you to stream for free, provided you are willing to sit through ads.
“Be careful though, as you need to warn TV Licensing that you do not require one, or else you may be subject to an inspection.”