Financial Information

How is TV Licensing funded and what is the cost of collecting the TV Licence fee?

The revenue source for TV Licensing is the TV Licence fee settlement by the Government to the BBC. More information on this is contained in the BBC Annual Report and Accounts.

The TV Licensing Costs of Collection chart, below, sets out the total licence fee revenue collected and collection costs over the last five years.

Section 365 of the Communications Act 2003 requires the BBC to pay all licence fee revenue it collects (via TV Licensing), less any sums required for making refunds, into the Government’s Consolidated Fund. TV Licensing doesn’t retain any of the licence fee revenue it collects; all monies are passed to the Government, and then on to the BBC, less a small administration fee paid to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport may retain a proportion of the licence fee revenue for other purposes (refer to the BBC’s Royal Charter and Agreement with Secretary of State).

TV Licensing costs of collection

  2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
  £ million % of cost £ million % of costs £ million % of costs £ million % of costs £ million % of costs
Collection
costs*
92.7 74.5 95.0 75.3 83.0 74.5 71.6 70.1 71.7 70.7
Depreciation
of new
systems
2.5 2.01 2.5 2.0 2.1 1.9 2.1 2.1 2.2 2.2
Comms** 16.6 13.34 13.9 11.0 14.0 12.6 15.5 15.2 14.1 13.9
Postage 8.7 6.99 9.5 7.5 12.2 11.0 10.8 10.6 10.8 10.7
Admin and
contract
management
3.9 3.14 5.2 4.1 0.1 0.1 2.2 2.2 2.6 2.6
Total £124.4m £126.1m £111.4m £102.2m £101.4m
Licence fee revenue 3,678.6m 3,697.8m 3,705.7m 3,722m 3,735m
Costs as % of revenue 3.4% 3.4% 3.0% 2.7% 2.7%
Licences in force (exc ARC) 25.103m 25.226m 25.338m 25.419m 25.508m
  2008/09 2009/10
  £ million % of costs £ million % of costs
Collection
costs*
88.4 73.7 93.8 74.3
Depreciation
of new
systems
 1.1 0.9 2.2 1.7
Comms** 22.3 18.6 18.0 14.3
Postage  7.1  5.9 8.4 6.7
Admin and
contract
management
1.0 0.8 3.8 3.0
Total £119.9m £126.2m
Licence fee revenue  3,493.8m  3,578.8m
Costs as % of revenue  3.4%   3.5% 
Licences in force (exc ARC) 24.872m 24.964m

Per TV Licence:

  2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Cost per licence £4.95 £5.00 £4.40 £4.02 £3.98
Cost per licence as % of licence fee 3.4% 3.4% 3.0% 2.8% 2.7%
Collection costs* £3.69 £3.77 £3.28 £2.82 £2.81
Depreciation of new systems £0.10 £0.10 £0.08 £0.08 £0.09
Comms** £0.66 £0.55 £0.55 £0.61 £0.55
Postage £0.35 £0.38 £0.48 £0.42 £0.42
Admin and contract management £0.15 £0.21 £0.00 £0.09 £0.10
Total £4.95 £5.00 £4.40 £4.02 £3.98
  2008/09 2009/10
Cost per licence £4.92 £5.06
Cost per licence as % of licence fee 3.5% 3.5%
Collection costs* £3.55 £3.76
Depreciation of new systems £0.04 £0.09
Comms** £0.90 £0.72
Postage £0.29 £0.34
Admin and contract management £0.04 £0.15
Total £4.82 £5.06

* Collection costs include call centres, field force, detection and over the counters services (net of recharges re over 75s).

** Communications including reminders and information campaigns.

Further breakdown of the specific services within the collection contracts is not readily available as the fee structure for our main contractor Capita is based on licence sales and encompasses all aspects of the service provision across the call centres and the field operations.

The cost per licence reflects the average cost, most cost less, some cost more depending on the level of enforcement required.

Fines collected for licence fee evasion are not given to the BBC or TV Licensing - they are a matter for the courts.

What portion of the licence fee revenue is spent on collection costs?

The cost of collection has decreased from £102.2 million in 2013/14 to £101.4 million in 2014/15. This represents 2.7% of the total licence fee revenue collected (£3.7 billion) in 2014/15. As shown in the TV Licensing Costs of Collection chart above, the costs of collection covers call centres, field force, detection and over the counter services, communications including reminders and information campaigns, postage and administration and contract management.

How much in licence fees do you collect from [X] location?

Figures on licence fee revenue by area aren’t available, as it isn’t necessary to generate this type of information for the purpose of issuing licences, and licence fee collection and enforcement. Please see the About TV Licensing section for information on licence fee revenue.

How much TV Licence fee revenue is collected from areas such as Scotland, Wales, North East England, Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey?

The BBC doesn’t collate information on licence fee revenue by location. For the purposes of administering the television licensing system, licence fee revenue is not configured by geographical location, as the BBC has no reason for doing this. The total licence fee revenue collected from 2008/09 to 2014/15 is detailed in the TV Licensing Costs of Collection chart above.

Further information is published in the BBC’s Annual Report and Accounts. The latest Annual Report (2014-15) is available on the BBC website at - www.bbc.co.uk/annualreport.

How much does TV Licensing spend on advertising? How much is spent on specific campaigns e.g. online advertisements?

For the 2014/15 financial year (the latest figures available) £14.1 million was spent on communications, including reminders and information campaigns. The TV Licensing Costs of Collection chart, at the top of this page, contains a break-down of TV Licensing’s top-line costs over the last seven financial years.

Specific advertising costs (including the cost of production and airtime to broadcast trails) is exempt from disclosure under section 43(2) of the FOI Act.

Note: The BBC does not advertise the need to be licensed, the ways to pay and the consequences of non-payment on commercial TV stations. TV trails are shown on BBC channels. Communications shown on BBC channels are referred to as ‘trails’ because the BBC, as a public service broadcaster, does not raise revenue through advertising.

What was TV Licensing’s budget for 2014/15 how does it compare to expenditure over the previous eight years?

TV Licensing’s budgeted and actual costs for the financial years 2006/07 to 2014/15 are shown in this chart:

  2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Budgeted (£ million) 124.8 126.5 123.9 106.6 105.8
Actual (£ million) 124.4 126.1 111.4 102.1 101.4
  2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10
Budgeted (£ million) 145.8 134.1 128.6 130.4
Actual (£ million) 132.6 121.6 119.9 126.2
Are the expenses and pensions of staff engaged by TV Licensing agents paid from the TV Licence fee?

‘TV Licensing’ is a trade mark of the BBC and is used under licence by companies contracted by the BBC to administer the collection of television licence fees and enforcement of the television licensing system.

The BBC does not hold the information requested here. It is a matter for each agent to determine how it chooses to spend the money it receives by way of remuneration from the BBC. Any information that a contractor holds in this regard is not held by them on behalf of the BBC and is therefore exempt from disclosure under section 3(2) of the FOI Act.

Who audits TV Licensing?

KPMG are the BBC’s auditors. They review statements from TV Licensing contractors as part of annual independent audits of the BBC. As a public body the BBC is also subject to audits undertaken by the National Audit Office.

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Latest press releases

TV Licensing: Check your details online to make sure your licence isn’t at the wrong address
Wed Sept 19 2017
When the cost of the Licence Fee was fixed at £145.50 in 2011, TV Licensing wrote to Direct Debit customers letting them know their licence would be automatically renewed and they would not receive any contact from TV Licensing as long as they kept up their payments.
TV Licensing launch radio trails aimed at students
Fri Aug 29 2017
TV Licensing has launched new radio trails on BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, BBC Radio 2 and the Asian Network). The trails are part of a campaign encouraging students to make sure they are covered by a TV Licence in their student accommodation if they plan to watch or record live TV or watch or download BBC programmes on iPlayer.
Students going mobile as they leave TV sets behind
Tue Aug 15 2017
A change to the law last September means students are now more likely to need a TV Licence to watch on mobile devices. A TV Licence is needed for watching and recording live television, and since September, watching or downloading BBC programmes on iPlayer. This applies to laptops, mobiles or any other equipment.
 
 

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