"It's great value at only 40 pence a day", goes the nauseating mantra of BBC luvvies trying to defend their sacred TV licence fee.
In the grand scheme of things maybe 40 pence a day isn't a huge amount of money to most TV viewers, but do they realise that less than half of the £145.50 annual TV licence fee is actually spent on the BBC's creative output?
So where does the rest of it go? In recent years the BBC has clocked up the following expenditure:
- £100m (the equivalent of 687,000 TV licences) on the abandoned Digital Media Initiative.
- £34m (the equivalent of 233,000 TV licences) on minicabs over the last 3 years.
- £25.6m (the equivalent of 176.000 TV licences) in pay-offs to BBC executives in the last 3 years.
- £8m (the equivalent of 55,000 TV licences) on the Dame Janet Smith Review into sexual abuse within the BBC to date.
- £5.2m (the equivalent of 35,000 TV licences) on external PR agencies every year.
- £3.6m (the equivalent of 24,700 TV licences) on BUPA health insurance for BBC executives since 2010.
- £1m (the equivalent of 6,800 TV licences) on first class rail travel over the last 3 years.
- £700,000 (the equivalent of 4,800 TV licences) renovating BBC Broadcasting House in Cardiff, which is earmarked for demolition in less than 3 years.
- £36,000 (the equivalent of 900 TV licences) buying copies of The Guardian newspaper every year.
If the BBC was genuinely concerned about preserving its obscure local radio stations and rarely-watched TV channels, would it really squander TV licence fee revenue at such an alarming rate? We think not.
As we regularly say here at the TV Licensing Blog, there really has never been a better time to cancel your TV licence and adopt a legally-licence-free mode of viewing.
Here are three of the most popular:
1. Amazon Prime.
Over the last year or so the Amazon Prime service has exploded in popularity. Prime allows users unlimited streaming of the latest movies and TV episodes, but they also benefit from free one-day delivery (okay, so nothing's really free!) on millions of different products purchased via the Amazon website, plus free access to thousands of ebooks, plus first dabs on some of Amazon's best deals.
Amazon Prime currently costs the princely sum of £79 per year, which is half the cost of a TV licence.
Amazon offers a 30 day free trial of Prime, which you can sign up for here.
A subscription to Netflix's most popular standard HD package currently costs £7.49 per month, which at the equivalent of £89.88 per year is slightly more than half the cost of a TV licence.
According to Netflix: "We have thousands of movies and TV show episodes available to watch instantly right on your TV via any device that streams Netflix, including PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, and your computer. There are never any commercials no matter how much you watch, and you can pause, rewind, fast forward or re-watch as often as you like. It's really that easy!"
Netflix offers a 30 day free trial, which you can sign up for here.
3. NOW TV.
NOW TV is Sky's online streaming service. As well as allowing users to watch Sky's most popular programmes "live" (which would require a TV licence), it gives access to a multitude of on-demand content. Unlike a regular Sky subscription, there is no ongoing contract with NOW TV - the user simply dips in and out of whichever Sky content interests them.
A NOW TV Entertainment Pass, which allows on-demand access to some of Sky's most popular shows, currently costs £6.99 a month. That works out at £83.88 per year, which is slightly more than half the cost of a TV licence.
NOW TV offers a 30 day free trial, which you can sign up for here.
Of course whichever of these options you chose, you would still have full access to the BBC's radio and online content, neither of which require a TV licence.
Of these three options we consider Amazon Prime the best value for money, particularly for anyone who already uses the Amazon website on a regular basis.
Remember: If you decide not to keep these services it is important that you cancel before the end of the free trial period, otherwise you may incur additional costs.