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Millions to Ditch Their TV License for a Streaming Service

Streaming services are becoming more popular every year. But, according to a new survey, as VOD and SVOD continue to embed themselves in our lives, almost 10 million Brits will get rid of their TV license. So what will this mean for the future of television?

Around the world, tens of millions of people now rely on a streaming service to deliver their favorite shows. In fact, Netflix has around 33 million subscribers, and the number of Amazon SVOD users is estimated to exceed 40 million! These numbers illustrate a significant shift in the way that many of us consume television. And it’s not a shift without consequences.

Recently Broadbandgenie.com conducted a series of surveys focussing on television licenses and streaming services. The company discovered that 39 percent of respondents were willing to cancel their TV license in favor of a streaming service. Using this figure as a guide, Broadbandgenie.com estimate that this means that 10 million of the existing 25 million television licenses that have been issued are in danger of not being renewed.

Since the BBC gets around £3.7bn from license fee money, the beloved British institution is likely to be the biggest casualty – although license fee contributions also contribute to the cost of rolling out broadband to the UK population, help to fund Welsh Language TV channel S4C, as well as local TV channels. Considering that 73 percent of Broadbandgenie.com’s respondents also stated that they think that Britain is better off with the BBC, this leaves the British population with a problem. On the one hand, they appear to value the BBC; on the other, a significant portion may be willing to sacrifice it in favor of another service.

So what can be done? A big part of the problem is that many people (43 percent of respondents) think that the license fee (currently £145.50) is too expensive, and more (another 43 percent of respondents) think that it should be scrapped altogether.

No matter how beloved the BBC is, that’s a massive 86 percent of UK citizens who have a problem with the cost of a television license. And this may be in no small part due to the rise of VOD and SVOD platforms.

Whereas license fee payers are expected to pay a fixed fee in order to enjoy the services provided by the BBC and other license fee funded stations, SVOD platforms generally offer more flexible payment arrangements, and many VOD providers ask for no payment – so long as viewers are willing to watch ads. This gives consumers more control over what content they pay for and a choice about whether they want to pay at all. In a world in which consumers increasingly expect to have their needs met, these are both enticing propositions.

The license fee model, then, may simply be out of date. And it’s likely that consumers will punish license fee funded broadcasters because of this. Perhaps, in the near future, we’ll see monthly license fee charges and different packages, since replicating more consumer-centric models could boost numbers. Else we may see third-party ads on the BBC. Or worse, no BBC at all.

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