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TV licensing-What you need to know



This September Leeds Met welcomed almost 8,000 new students and another 22,000 returned from their summer break to continue their studies.


A new finding by the TV Licensing authority revealed that 28% of students, both new and old, we’re unaware that they needed a TV Licence to watch programmes on any medium. This information, apparently unbeknown to your average fresher, includes watching TV on devices such as games consoles and laptops.


Roughly a third surveyed also revealed that students did not know that they had to have a TV license to watch any sort of British Broadcast on their mobile phone devices. Considering that a whopping 86% of students own a Smartphone capable of receiving TV broadcasts via the Internet; this amounts to a huge amount in the dark over the current law.


Although there are many students who possess TV licenses, many do not and subsequently risk being fined £1,000. Of course, this is only a risk, and many students who do not own TV licenses continue watching live broadcasts in the hope of successfully escaping the TV licensing fee.


“Our new research shows how important it is for students to understand the law when it comes to watching live TV. We’re working with universities around the UK to ensure students who want to watch live TV can do so legally and with the peace of mind they are on the right side of the law. A TV Licence, at £145.50, can be bought online in minutes,” said David Drury, TV Licensing spokesperson for the North of England.


As a student-orientated media outlet, themetonline.co.uk feel obliged to inform our readers that TV licenses do not have to be purchased in all given scenarios. In fact, it is possible to watch TV broadcasts online without the need of any form of license fee. Take the BBC iPlayer service for example. To watch TV “as it is being shown” incorporates all live elements of the show. However, watching it after it has been broadcasted on a platform that merely displays a database of programmes, i.e. the iPlayer, means you do not need a licence to watch any of the show.


On top of this, if you are living in shared accommodation, you only need to purchase a separate TV licence if you have a “separate tenancy agreement”, i.e., you effectively pay for your own room. This system of living is more common in flats and student apartments (though this may not necessarily always be the case). If you, like many students, reside in a property under a “joint tenancy agreement”, i.e., pay for the property as a whole as opposed to designated rooms, then a single licence will cover the entire property including the communal areas.


The conduct of the Television Licence authority has been bought into question by many student bodies. Having had experience of regularly being bombarded with letters threatening to begin “official investigations” and “commencing imminent court action”, one can only deduce that the TV licensing authorities are attempting to intimidate students who may not want a license to stump up the £145.40. This may not necessarily be unlawful, but indicates bad business conduct by the TV licensing authorities which should not be acceptable.


  1. During Freshers in my first year, the TV licensing agency threatened to take the occupier of my shared flat kitchen to court – needless to say, nobody lived their. The letters may seem scary, but can be dealt with online in seconds.

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