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BBC Faces Tough Decisions

Britain’s BBC needs to make tough decisions to ensure its future as viewers spend less time with the broadcaster and the number of households paying the license fee is declining.

Since it was founded nearly a century ago, the BBC has dominated Britain’s media landscape, with its television, radio and online services used by 90% of the population weekly, according to its annual report.

But it is losing audiences, and in particular younger viewers, to rivals such as Netflix, and politicians have questioned whether the universal TV license – a tax on all television-watching households which was 157.50 pounds in 2020 – can be justified in the future.

The BBC received 3.52 billion pounds ($4.8 billion) from the fee in 2019/20, a fall of 8% since 2017-18 as the government withdrew funding for free licenses for the over-75s, the NAO spending watchdog said.

The government is also considering decriminalizing license fee evasion, a move that the BBC estimated could reduce its income by more than 1 billion pounds by 2027.