BBC faces review of ‘unsustainable’ licence fee as 500,000 Brits snub levy

BBC: Jacob Rees-Mogg calls for licence fee to be scrapped

The BBC is facing a review into the future of the licence fee amid fears it is “unsustainable”.

Ministers are expected to formally announce the probe of the corporation’s funding model in the autumn.

The review will consider alternatives including subscription, a broadband levy, increased commercial activity and advertising.

Its findings will be presenter to ministers in autumn 2024.

It comes as the BBC’s annual report released last week showed the number of people opting to pay the £159 a year charge had plummetted by 500,000 to 24.3 million.

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The corporation blamed the drop on the cost of living crisis and increasing competition.

It meant revenue from the levy fell from £3.8 billion to 3.74 billion.

A government source told The Times: “The evidence that there is a growing unwillingness to pay is shown by figures each year. The licence fee model is becoming unsustainable.”

One of the frontrunners to replace the licence fee is said to be a partial subscription model, where some premium content is paid for but the rest of the broadcaster’s output is free.

The BBC funding model has been facing ongoing questions amid a changing media landscape with pressure from streaming giants such as Netflix.

Tory former culture secretary Nadine Dorries last year announced the annual fee would be frozen at £159 for the next two years until April 2024.

Ms Dorries said she wanted to find a new funding model before the BBC’s royal charter is up for renewal in 2027.

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