BBC iPlayer viewers will have to pay TV licence fee from September

The BBC is closing a loophole that meant iPlayer users did not need a licence

People without a TV licence will no longer be able to legally watch BBC shows on iPlayer from next month.

New legislation will come into effect from September 1 to close a loophole that allowed viewers to watch catchup content without paying a licence fee.

The government introduced the change after the BBC said that it was losing £150m of revenue a year from online-only viewers.

Under the new rules, anyone watching BBC programmes on catchup through any device and third-party services such as Sky, Virgin or BT will be required to pay the £145 a year charge.

However, the change will not apply to non-BBC on-demand services such as ITV Hub and Channel 4’s All4.

A spokesperson for TV licensing said: “Fewer than 2% of households only watch catchup – and only those watching BBC iPlayer as part of their catchup and on-demand viewing will need to buy a licence from September. You will not need a TV licence to download or watch programmes on demand from other providers, such as YouTube, Netflix, ITV Hub, All 4 or Demand 5. All unlicensed households are being mailed and a publicity campaign will happen before 1 September.”