Broadcaster ITV is challenging plans to widen the scope of the UK license fee to cover the pubcaster’s catch-up services.
The government plans to introduce the changes so that the license fee covers catch up services such as the BBC iPlayer, and agreed to the change as part of a wider recent deal on the BBC license fee.
The changes would mean, however, that UK viewers had to pay the licence fee to access the catch-up service of all UK broadcasters with a public service remit, meaning ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 as well as the BBC.
ITV chief executive Adam Crozier has come out strongly against the plans and written to ministers to express the commercial broadcaster’s position. ITV is also considering a legal challenge to the licence fee changes, according to Sky News, which broke the story over the weekend.
ITV says the catch up TV changes are unreasonable and that requiring consumers to pay for all of the UK PSB channels catch up services is effectively asking users of its service to fund the BBC.
The UK Department of Culture Media and Sport issued a statement to Sky in response to the story and said: “The government has agreed to look at bringing forward legislation in the next year to modernise the licence fee to cover public service broadcast catch-up TV to reflect changing technology and viewing habits.
“Details of what the legislation will cover are being considered and we will set out next steps in due course.”