TV Licensing’s reminder today comes in the wake of recent BBC iPlayer figures which show five of the top 20 live TV programmes viewed via the platform last year were televised during business hours, and those watching numbered more than 800,000.
Employers may not be aware the viewing is happening but if an employee is caught watching TV illegally, the business or the employee may be held liable and fined up to £1,000.
A TV Licence is required if anyone – staff or customers – watches or records TV programmes at the same time as they are shown on TV, whether on a TV, tablet, computer or any other type of equipment.
Last year TV Licensing enquiry officers visited more than 33,000 businesses across the UK, ranging from takeaway restaurants and holiday parks to garages, hair salons and sports clubs, to confirm if they were correctly licensed. In 2013, TV Licensing visited more than 280 businesses in Leeds to check they were correctly licensed.
Paul Williams TV Licensing spokesperson said:
“With services such as BBC iPlayer and 4oD streaming live TV it can be tempting to watch major televised occasions or sporting events sat at your desk during the working day.
“But employers and employees in Leeds need to be aware of their TV Licensing requirements if they are watching live TV in the workplace.
“Rather than risk being prosecuted and facing a fine, we would rather business owners and managers take a few moments to review and update their licensing requirements.
“A licence costs £145.50 and can be bought in minutes online at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/business.”
To help businesses and staff understand the legal implications of watching programmes live at work, TV Licensing has produced a downloadable “TV in the Workplace” guide.
The guide allows managers to outline whether the business is covered by a TV Licence and whether staff and customers are allowed to watch TV in the workplace. Download the template at http://bit.ly/198Xk6a
The funeral of Baroness Thatcher, on a Wednesday morning in April, was the most watched live programme via iPlayer in 2013 reaching over 830,000 people.
Andy Murray’s quest to reach his second Wimbledon final also had viewers tuning in during the working day to watch the quarter and semi-final matches which were played over two weekday afternoons in early July.