1 in 3 want BBC licence fee scrapped

James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond have drawn rave reviews for their Amazon Prime series, The Grand Tour
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond have drawn rave reviews for their Amazon Prime series, The Grand Tour

NEARLY a third of people want the TV licence scrapped, according to a study which also reveals that the average amount people are willing to pay for the BBC is 30 per cent less than the annual £145 fee.

Although more than seven in ten people are happy with the BBC’s service, the study’s authors said the corporation was “struggling to identify with younger and lower income groups”.

The survey, carried out by research firm Strategy Analytics, found older and affluent members of the public were more positive towards the broadcaster and that the average amount people were willing to pay was £101.57 - £44 less than the actual price.

The study found viewers were split over new rules which came into force in September, requiring them to have a TV licence to watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.

A total of 47pc disagreed with the loophole being closed, while 40pc said the move was correct.

Researchers also found that fewer than half of the 1,023 people who took part knew how much the licence cost, while 8pc said they did not pay the fee at all.

David Mercer, from Strategy Analytics, said the research showed that younger and lower income groups “tend to be most resistant to the idea of a licence fee”.

The findings come as the BBC faces new competition from subscription streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, which have garnered rave reviews for their own BBC-style programming.

The Crown, Netflix’s ten-part series about the Queen’s early reign, made by Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry, has won universal acclaim, with one critic calling it “a magnificent achievement”.

The series, reported to have cost £100m, has been made in ultra high-definition, which although available on many new TV sets, is not offered by the BBC.

Amazon’s vehicle for Jeremy Clarkson, The Grand Tour, is also made in UHD, and has drawn favourable comparisons with the presenter’s former BBC series, Top Gear.