If You Want To Watch iPlayer Next Year You'll Need An Account

The BBC hasn't ruled out using the iD to enforce the licence fee.

27/09/2016 17:21 | Updated 28 September 2016

The BBC has announced that anyone who wants to watch iPlayer from early 2017 will need to log in. 

To set up an account, viewers will be required to provide an email address, password and postcode. 

The BBC said the changes will help personalise and localise the service, adding it has no current plans to use it to enforce the licence fee.

But it did not rule out using the postcode data for enforcement in the future. 

Starting today, existing BBC ID holders will also need to add a postcode to their account to continue viewing the online TV service. 

Carl Court via Getty Images

Since the start of September, anyone watching iPlayer programmes has been required to pay for a TV licence, closing the so-called iPlayer loophole. 

Users without TVs were previously able to avoid the £145.50 annual charge so long as they weren’t watching live television via the service.

BBC director of radio Helen Boaden said: “Some of you might be thinking that this is driven by the changes to the so-called ‘iPlayer loophole’ [...] it’s not – it’s about giving you a better BBC.”

“As we said earlier this month, we’ll carry on using our existing enforcement processes and techniques which we believe to be adequate and appropriate.”

But Boaden added: “We will keep our processes under review to make sure they are effective. The government has asked us to review whether a verification system for accessing the iPlayer will be required in the future.”

Linking postcode data and full names would enable the corporation to identify households using the service without a licence fee. 

A BBC spokesman said: “There are no current plans for passwords to be used for enforcement but that could change.”

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