Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Chart of the Day
17 January 2022

How does the cost of the BBC TV licence compare to streaming?

At £13.25 a month, the licence fee is cheaper than Netflix’s premium tier and Sky’s streaming service.

By Nicu Calcea

The Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has announced the BBC licence fee will be frozen for the next two years and then abolished from 2027 if the Conservatives are still in power. “The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors are over,” Dorries declared. 

But how does the £159-a-year licence fee compare to the cost charged by rival services? The BBC licence fee – at £13.25 a month – is more expensive than Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Netflix’s standard and basic plans, but cheaper than Netflix’s premium tier and Sky’s streaming service. 


Some groups, such as the over-75s who receive Pension Credit, are exempt from the BBC licence fee, while those with a severe vision impairment can receive a 50 per cent concession. A TV licence is currently required of any household watching or recording live television in Britain, regardless of whether this is through a TV or computer. 

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.