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From 1 September, you'll need a TV licence to watch BBC iPlayer

A soon-to-be-sewn-up loophole means even those who only watch BBC programmes via online catch-up will need to pay the £145.50 annual fee.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway

In a month's time you'll need a TV licence to watch iPlayer, as the BBC prepares to lock down a legal loophole that let Brits watch catch-up programming for free.

From 1 September, anyone watching iPlayer will need to have paid the £145.50 annual licence fee, the BBC reports. Previously a legal loophole meant that only live TV on iPlayer required a licence, meaning if you didn't own a television and only watched catch-up, you could get away with not paying.

The government confirmed its plans to change that back in March. "The BBC works on the basis that all who watch it pay for it," said then-Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, who has since been sacked by new Prime Minister Theresa May.

You can pay for a licence fee online, although those who already have a license fee don't need to do anything. The licence fee largely goes towards covering the costs of the BBC (and is the reason BBC TV and radio in the UK don't feature adverts). If you're curious where the money goes, you can see a breakdown of how the BBC spent its licence fee cash between April 2013 and March 2014 here.