BBC's iPlayer App Won't be Free from 2017 Onwards

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Apart from BBC News, the British public service broadcaster has also been offering its iPlayer app on the Play Store for quite some time now and while that isn't going to change anytime soon, the fact that this media player has been free for all these years, will. As revealed in the latest BBC Royal Charter White Paper, the "iPlayer loophole" will soon be plugged. More specifically, the app allowed and still allows UK citizens to access BBC TV at no charge, i.e. without requiring the standard BBC license fee one pays for. However, that will change next year as the BBC plans to include the iPlayer into its annual license fee. The fee amounts to £145.50 for 2016 and is an amount which is not expected to change much next year.

It's worth noting that the app still won't be able to tell whether its users have actually paid the license fee. In other words, the BBC still isn't working on a new version of the app which would require its users to present some kind of credentials before using it. However, that doesn't mean this change in policy can be taken lightly as the BBC is no stranger to prosecuting individuals over unpaid license fees. In fact, it makes around £50 million per year from people who think there's no way they'll be taken to court over something like a license fee.

Furthermore, the BBC Royal Charter White Paper actually does mention the potential of implementing a membership login into the iPlayer app, similar to how services like HBO GO and Netflix currently do, but at the moment, no actual plans regarding that course of action have been officially announced. So, as things stand right now, BBC will treat people who use its iPlayer without paying the license fee, the same way it treats people who watch BBC on traditional TVs without paying – by attempting to identify and prosecute them.

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Also worth noting is that even though the aforementioned £145.50 license fee has been frozen since 2010 and isn't expected to significantly rise in 2017, the Royal Charter White Paper did announce that the exact amount will be gradually adjusted over the course of the next half a decade, in order to be in line with inflation by 2022.

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]

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