Support for BBC License Fee falls Along With Viewing Figures

The increasingly controversial BBC license fee is no longer seen as good value for money by almost a half of people questioned, a poll has found.

44 per cent of people who responded to a YouGov poll for The Times said they were happy with the price of £145.50 in return for the services they receive, while 45 per cent would rather the BBC were supported by alternative funding.

With traditional channels getting only a fraction of the viewing figures they commanded before the huge advances in how we view our news and entertainment, the argument for the regressive tax to fund the public service broadcaster, which has admitted that its political slant is to the left, is waning.

Services like Freeview provide 94 per cent of channels for no additional fee after hardware is purchased and many top sporting matches, including England rugby internationals, are on subscription services with providers offering tailor made channel packages which better suit viewer’s preferences.

The survey found that there had been a drop of four per cent in the number of people who thought the license fee was good value for money although it is still favoured by a majority of people as a means of funding the Corporation.

But that leaves a significant chunk of the viewing public, 45 per cent, wanting a change including advertising as a form of garnering revenue which was supported by a quarter of people and 13 per cent who even thought voluntary subscriptions would be effective.

Those who are unhappy with the current arrangements are UKIP supporters, the poll found, with 59 per cent saying it is bad value for money. This compares to the left wing Liberal Democrat supporters, with only 24 per cent agreeing with that statement.

As well as marked differences of opinions between political party supporters, which long running debates on the biased nature of the broadcaster would have contributed to, the numbers suggest a difference along class lines.

Sajid Javid, the Culture Secretary, recently suggested that many families are struggling to afford the flat rate fee which makes up a much larger percentage of outgoings for the families of low income families compared to those taking home a larger salary.

While 47 per cent of middle-class viewers say that the licence fee is good value, only 29 per cent of working-class respondents believe that to be the case.

The option of combining those two options was supported by just 7 per cent of voters and 11 per cent admitted they had no thoughts on how the BBC should be funded.

The viewing habits of Britons are changing significantly, with the baby boomer generation watching double the amount of TV as their children who increasingly get their news from online providers and watch programmes online or on streaming websites.

A survey for regulator OfCom found that children between the ages of 11 and 15 spend six times longer watching internet video clips as older viewers but spend much less time watching programmes on traditional television sets.


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