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January 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The rising popularity of online video is a growing threat to the BBC license fee, which funds the ad-free broadcaster, the Financial Times observed today (Tuesday). Currently every British household with a television set must pay a £145.50 ($239.60) annual fee that supports the operations and programming of the broadcaster. However, a growing number of households are now using online streaming to watch BBC programs and dumping their TV sets. While they amount to only 1-2 percent of households currently, their numbers are growing fast. An unnamed senior BBC executive told the newspaper that he expects the BBC’s own iPlayer app will supersede broadcast channels “faster than most people in television think.” In addition, the FT observed, the license fee has been frozen until the end of 2016, effectively reducing the BBC’s budget by 16 percent at the end of that time. Former BBC strategist Mark Oliver conceded that as a result of squeezed funding, the BBC “is in danger of simply becoming irrelevant.”