RNIB urges blind viewers to take advantage of half-price concession, as ‘The Vikings Uncovered’ tops list of audio-described shows

People who are blind (severely sight impaired), or live with someone who is, are eligible to apply for a blind concession on their TV Licence, which allows them to save 50% on the cost.

TV Licensingh has been working with RNIB to make sure anyone who is eligible to receive the concession is aware and takes advantage of the reduced TV Licence fee. The number of blind concessionary licences has risen by 4% this year, with 41,392 blind concessionary licences issued in the UK1, up from 39,700, the previous year.

Increasing numbers of BBC shows are provided with Audio Description (AD), with over 20% of BBC output now audio-described – above the target of 10% set for broadcasters by Ofcom. The service on digital TV, which allows you to hear a verbal description of what is happening on screen in between the dialogue, makes programmes more accessible to people with sight loss.

Audio-described programmes are available across a range of genres. ‘The Vikings Uncovered’ was the most watched audio-described show of the last three months2, with over 19,000 audio-described downloads of this history documentary. Louis Theroux’s ‘Drinking to Oblivion’ was the second most watched show, with over 18,000 downloads. ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ also proved to be a hit with AD viewers, with 16,640 downloads.

As well as those who are blind (severely sight impaired), live-in carers or family members could also benefit from the concession and enjoy AD programming themselves. A blind concession TV Licence costs £72.75 for colour and £24.50 for a black and white TV Licence.

Jason Hill, spokesperson for TV Licensing said:

If you live with someone who is blind (severely sight impaired), they are entitled to a concessionary TV Licence, which is half the price of a full fee licence. This will cover you, as well as anyone else living in your household. There is a range of ways to pay - online with a debit or card, monthly or quarterly direct debit, over-the-counter and by phone or post.

Jamie Dormandy, Head of Customer Service and Support at RNIB, said:

TV continues to be a popular form of entertainment for many blind and partially sighted people, thanks in part to new technologies such as audio description and the increasing range of assistive software for tablets and laptops making it easier than ever to enjoy programmes at the touch of a button. We would encourage those who are severely sight impaired to take advantage of the 50 per cent reduction in the cost of their TV Licence if they haven’t already done so.

If you live with someone who is eligible and already have a full fee TV Licence in your name, you can transfer the licence to the name of the person who registered as severely sight impaired and halve the cost. To do this, simply fill in a blind concession form or contact TV Licensing on 0300 790 0366.

Those who use a digital box used to produce sound only, do not require a TV Licence provided it cannot display TV programmes. Anyone who does not watch or record live TV on any device and doesn’t download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer can let TV Licensing know they don’t need a TV Licence by completing an online declaration.

Anyone affected by sight loss can get TV Licensing information by email or in Braille, large print or audio by calling 0300 555 0300. An audio podcast about the concession is available online at audioboo.com/tvlicensing.


1) Blind concessionary licences in force, as of August 2016

2) All BBC iPlayer Audio Described requests, 1 May 2016 to 31 July 2016

Position iPlayer programme Requests
1 The Vikings Uncovered 19,456
2 Louis Theroux - Drinking to Oblivion 18,688
3 The Great British Sewing Bee - Basic Construction 16,640
4 Attenborough’s Passion Projects - A blank on the map 15,104
5 How to stay young - (Episode 2) 15,104
6 How to stay young - (Episode 1) 12,800
7 The Great British Sewing Bee - Children’s week 12,544
8 Rick Stein’s Long weekends - Vienna 11,264
9 Rick Stein’s Long weekends - Bordeaux 11,008
10 The Great British Sewing Bee - Lingerie week 10,752

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