A bit of old news, but certainly a pause-for-thought moment.
I decided to catch-up with America This Week through the BBC’s iPlayer, and in doing so, suddenly found myself wondering whether I needed a TV license to download and watch it. (If anyone not based in the UK is reading this, a TV license is needed in this country to legally be able to own – and watch – a television. It’s an obscene amount of money to pay, based upon most of the crap that’s usually on, and basically funds the BBC). So, bottom line is, iPlayer – a brilliant service – but is it actually free? Other TV channels are starting to really push their VoD services, mainly 4oD and ITV Catchup, but usually fill them full of adverts or even charge a small fixed cost for viewing. The BBC doesn’t do this, but I’m wondering how, with the increase of the internet permeating small-screen viewing, the obvious merging of online media with digital-signal TV and the genuinely exciting Project Kangaroo (Brilliant!) in the pipeline, how is the BBC going to be able to track or charge for downloaded televison content? I imagine that in the very near future a subscription fee will be introduced, but for now I’m just happy to keep downloading and watching all the beautiful people whilst pretending that I understand politics.