Monday, 14 July 2008

BBC TV Licence - It's all in the Data Base

2007/08 BBC Annual Report and Accounts

Recently I highlighted just how un-scientific the BBC's TV Licence Fee detection and collection methods are . They simply involve posting increasingly threatening letters to households which don't have a TV Licence. Never mind whether these households own a TV or not. Last week the BBC published its Annual Report and Accounts. The figures reveal that Licence Fee evasion remains steady at 5.1%. In other words the threatening letters aren't working.

Another blogger hilariously reveals that although TV Licensing's increasingly threatening letters are signed by 'John Hales', Mr Hales' changing signature wouldn't pass any bank fraud test - leading to the suspicion that even John Hales isn't even real!

TV Licensing's John Hales - would you accept his signature on a personal cheque?
Thanks to for posting the signatures

The BBC recently ran an advertising campaign 'Your Town, Your Street, Your Home - it's all in the Data Base' (see it here) which has been criticised (according to the Telegraph) for employing a menacing soundtrack of helicopters, dogs barking and door knocking. Last year Gary Streeter the Conservative MP for SW Devon tabled a motion signed by 60 MP's complaining about the bully-boy techniques employed by TV licensing - threatening old ladies who don't even own a TV. Last week even former Director General Greg Dyke labelled the Licence as an unfair tax - costing both rich and poor alike. Serves the BBC right for sacking him.

Now the BBC Trust - the newly self appointed BBC Regulator is to investigate the Licence fee collection methods. They say in the Annual Report:

"We have begun a review to ensure the right balance is being struck between the need to raise maximum revenue and the need to avoid heavy handedness, especially with people who do not own a television set and therefore do not need a licence."

It'll be interesting to see what conclusions the BBC Trust arrives at when they report later this year. Recently the BBC Trust gave the BBC a clean bill of health over the amount it pays its presenters - including the £18m it pays Jonathan Ross.

Of course while the TV licensing bully-boy tactics remain in force the BBC could begin production on another of its cheap and ubiquitous documentary series. Tonight at 10.35 BBC One follows the work of the River Police. Last week the BBC's cameras were on the beat with the Benefit fraud Inspectors. What next? BBC One 9pm - Its All in the Data Base - "Watching cheap voyeuristic TV without a £139.50 TV Licence? we've got your number mate, you're nicked."

Perhaps The BBC Trust should investigate the impact of the BBC's decsion to stream its channels live on the internet instead?

This above all else will surely lead to the end of the TV Licence? No one will tolerate having to buy a TV Licence to surf the web - where they'll soon find the BBC's programmes for free (even the ones not already free on the iPlayer).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree to the last person who wrote the previous blogg about the tv licencing methods to get money from those who don't own a television set and those that do pay on time like myself. They are trying to get money out twice in one year and trying to use the communications act aswell. It is a extremely good thing that I am very clued up with very good legal knowledge and very good teachers at hand to gain my knowledge from them otherwise they will try to walk all over you but this time they have come unstuck with this student! Obviously thinking isnt one of there many qualities only the greedyness of there pockets.