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TV Viewers Baffled By TV Terminology

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Local Romsey News | TV viewers baffled by TV terminology ahead of iPlayer law changeTV viewers struggle to understand TV terminology such as 'streaming' and 'on demand' according to a new survey1 carried out by TV Licensing.

The UK-wide study, carried out in advance of a major change in TV Licencing regulations, suggests there may be confusion around exactly which viewing habits will be affected by the change.

When the law changed on 1 September, viewers will need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or download BBC programmes on demand – including catch up TV – on BBC iPlayer, no matter how they access it. However, the vast majority of households have a licence so are already covered.

Comparatively, 'catch up' is one of the most well understood terms with 71 per cent of those surveyed feeling they had a broad understanding of the term. However, when shown a description, only half (52 per cent) said they had been right.

For 'on demand', nearly six in 10 people (58 per cent) claimed they had a broad understanding, but only 38 per cent fully grasped the definition. Many failed to realise the term 'on demand' includes three components; catch up TV; exclusive programmes only available online; and watching a programme 'on demand' before it is shown on TV.

Between 34 and 36 per cent of respondents admitted they don't know what the term 'video streaming' means, when asked spontaneously. Although in the younger audience, more than 73 per cent of 16 to 24 year olds correctly defined 'video streaming' as watching TV, videos, programmes or films over the internet, where the video you watch is typically not stored on your device for viewing at a later date.

The survey also revealed that 70 per cent of respondents said the definition provided for 'downloading videos' at least broadly matched what they thought but 19 per cent admitted they could not define this.

When asked what 'live TV' meant, 49 per cent of respondents incorrectly attributed this activity only to live TV events or TV shown in real time, not recorded or edited. Just 37 per cent correctly defined 'live TV' as programmes shown as broadcast, or as aired, while 10 per cent admitted they could not define the phrase.

Jason Hill, TV Licensing spokesperson, said:

Some phrases are very familiar to TV viewers but others are less well-known, including important terms such as ‘on demand’. We want to let those affected know in advance about the law change on 1 September. After that date, you will need to be covered by a TV Licence to download or watch BBC programmes on demand - including catch up TV – on BBC iPlayer. This applies to all devices.

The change will not affect the huge majority of households which are already licensed. Fewer than two per cent of households only watch catch up - and only those watching BBC iPlayer as part of their catch up and on demand viewing will need to buy a licence from September.

You will not need a TV Licence to download or watch programmes on demand from other providers, such as YouTube, Netflix, ITV Hub, All 4 or Demand 5. All unlicensed households are currently being mailed.

As before, you still need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or download BBC programmes on demand on BBC iPlayer or record any live TV on any channel, no matter what device you use.

Visit the TV Licensing YouTube channel for more information about the changes.

It’s easy to buy a licence online, amend or check personal details at any time at