Too busy to watch TV? – TV Licensing asks businesses to get in touch if they don’t need a licence

New research from TV Licensing has revealed some businesses are ‘too busy for TV’ so don’t require a TV licence.

The research, carried out by Harris Interactive1, indicates that employees of certain sectors, such as Car Retailers and Mechanics, are too busy to ‘down tools’ to watch TV in breaks and lunchtimes with 17% saying they just don’t have time to watch TV.

TV Licensing is asking those businesses who don’t need a licence to get in touch to let TV Licensing know so that we can minimise contact with those addresses.

Businesses must be covered by a TV Licence if staff watch or record live TV, or watch or download BBC programmes on iPlayer, on equipment supplied by the business. Without a valid licence, businesses are breaking the law, and run the risk of a court prosecution and fine of up to £1,000.

A TV in the Workplace Guide is available to help managers and explain TV Licensing rules to staff in the workplace which can be downloaded at https://bit.ly/1BLsP7b

In contrast to the car trade, other sectors, such as the hospitality and drinks industry, however, value access to TV and consider having a TV an important part of the workplace.

The research reveals that 36% of businesses consulted require a TV licence and have TVs showing live TV or have staff watching TV.

Hotels/Accommodation and Pubs/Clubs are the businesses most likely to require requiring a licence, with around 80% in each sector requiring a licence. Car Retailers and Mechanics are the business sectors least likely to require a licence with fewer than 1 in 5 requiring a licence (17%). Explaining why they don’t have TVs, more than 70% of Car Retailers and Mechanics say they simply have no need.

For those businesses that do have a TV, the main benefit claimed for TV is to provide entertainment, with almost 60% of those in the Hotels and Accommodation sector saying entertainment is the main benefit, with a further 20% saying it also provides relaxation.

Jason Hill, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said:

If businesses don’t need a licence and let us know, we can stop sending them letters for around three years, after which we’ll just get on touch to check the position is still the same. But it’s important businesses know when a licence is needed as our enquiry officers do visit unlicensed business addresses.

Leanda Hickman, spokesperson at the Forum of Private Business, added:

Do we need a TV Licence?” is a common question we are asked by our members and we always advise that if you have a common area, restaurant facilities or a waiting area for staff and visitors and you have a TV playing live TV, you will need a licence.
We also remind our members that a licence is also required for mobile devices such as iPads that have been supplied by their employers to an employee if they download BBC programmes on iPlayer to the device”.

We encourage businesses to read more information about TV Licensing requirements for business, or ways to spread the cost. Alternatively, they can call the TV Licensing businesses team on 0300 790 6131.


1. Harris Interactive, Sizing the Business Universe, 3,601 UK participants

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