TV Licensing For Students: Is It Worth It?

Let's be honest, student loans don't stretch that far after rent, bills, and the compulsory bottle of gin a week. So why should we have to pay £145.50 a year to be a couch potato? Rosie Bellini investigates.

26th October 2015

Who wouldn’t miss childhood? Laying down on the lounge carpet, you’d peer your pudgy little face at your father, reclined in his armchair with the question of the cost of TV and other ‘fun stuffs’. He’d smile with a twinkle in his eye and say ‘in time’ before settling back to his paper. You thought no more of it. But the time has now come as you get sucked into the swirl of the abyss of adulthood when it dawns that the prophesied time your father spoke of is now.

And it’s shit.

‘Fun stuffs’ cost money and to glance upon a telly broadcasting live shows sets you back a whopper of a £145.50 a year. So it sets in that not only does the fate of your student maintenance depend on avoiding paying this outdated, extortionate fee but the sake of nostalgia also as you desperately cling onto the warmth and security of ‘freeness’. It appears everything is encouraging you on this path, getting out of coughing up is quoted as the “ultimate life hack” by MoneySavingExpert so it really does pay not to pay for this.

"No one seems to bring up is that it’s a flat rate, non-income adjusted for anyone who wants to use a telly the way it was originally intended? Get on your bike mate."

The legislation is pretty clear on whether you should pay; if you watch live telly (tv as it’s being broadcast) or record live telly to watch later (on a Sky+ or a TiVo box) on any device then non-payment of your television licence results in a criminal offence and a hefty fine. But here’s your saving grace – if you watch live shows on a catch-up service after they’re broadcast – be it an hour afterwards or a week afterwards – then old Auntie Beeb doesn't see a single dime of your money as the legislation only counts on any direct interaction with live telly. Bangin’. This throwback to childhood is easy to avoid so long as you’re watertight with your convictions as the fine of £1000 and a criminal offence probably aren't the best playmates to your degree.

Although the additional money saving incentive is extremely appealing for someone with a perchance for expensive gin, it’s hard for me to be in complete support of scrapping a licensing fee altogether for although I can actively support the advert-free quality of entertainment produced by the Beeb over the whole of my childhood, I can’t really dispute just how outdated it has become. When it was first introduced, there was one sum to pay, finito. Now with extras such as Sky, Netflix and Amazon Prime, that cost suddenly skyrocketed and it’s no wonder that people are starting to grumble. Additionally a key feature that no one seems to bring up is that it’s a flat rate, non-income adjusted for anyone who wants to use a telly the way it was originally intended? Get on your bike mate. Plus, with the exception of modern classic series such as The Great British Bake Off, Doctor Who and The Apprentice, does anything really command the same hype as slick Netflix shows such as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards which you can binge watch at the touch of a button? Or if paying for things as great as telly still brings a tear to your eye as the thought of your father and his paper, treat yourself to the luxury of watching things just minutes after they’re broadcast.

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