TV Licensing Urges Businesses to Make Sure They are Correctly Licensed Over the Festive Season

By Tvl, PRNE
Thursday, December 15, 2011

LONDON, December 16, 2011 -

Thousands caught without a TV Licence in the last two years

As the Christmas countdown begins, TV Licensing and the Forum for Private Business are calling on business owners and managers to make sure they’re correctly licensed if staff or customers are likely to be watching TV at their premises over the holiday period.

The reminder comes as TV Licensing today reveals that more than 2,700 businesses were caught watching TV without a licence across the UK during 2010 and 2011.

Televisions are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace and online viewing is also making it easier than ever for employees to tune in to live TV at their desks. It’s therefore essential employers are aware of their licensing responsibilities.

Legally, businesses must be covered if anyone watches or records TV programmes on the premises at the same time as they are broadcast. This is the case regardless of the device being used to watch TV or whether viewing takes place in a communal area or at desks or a work station.

TV Licensing will be visiting unlicensed businesses across the UK before and during the Christmas period. As well as risking a court prosecution and fine of up to £1,000 per offence, those without a valid licence may face reputational damage to their business if caught watching TV illegally. Businesses owners found guilty are also required to buy a TV Licence or they could face a second prosecution.

Emma Cowlard, TV Licensing spokesperson, said: “We’re always keen to make sure that businesses have all the information they need to stay on the right side of the law and avoid the risk of prosecution. 

“If any business owners or managers would like more information about the licensing requirements, or ways to spread the cost, they can call our businesses team on 0300-790-6124 or visit A licence costs £145.50 and can be purchased in minutes online.”

Phil McCabe, Forum of Private Business spokesperson, said: “Businesses of all types and sizes are now using television much more widely in the workplace. Many service based businesses outside of the traditional hospitality sector, such as dentists and cafes, are now providing television for the benefit of their customers, and increasingly employees are able to watch live programmes online at their desks. This means it’s more important than ever for bosses to make sure their businesses are correctly licensed, especially in the run up to Christmas when watching TV in the workplace is likely to be even more popular.”

Notes to editors

Who needs a TV Licence?

If anyone at your business watches or records TV programmes as they are being shown on TV, irrespective of what channel they’re watching, what device they’re using (TV, computer, laptop, mobile phone or any other), and how they receive them (terrestrial, satellite, cable, via the Internet or any other), you will need to be covered by a valid TV Licence. In general, one licence will cover all the TV equipment your business uses for business purposes on a single site.  The only exception to this is hotels, which have separate licensing requirements.

However, if you sub-let any part of your premises to another business or have an on-site social or welfare club, then it will require its own separate licence. Please note that the licence does not cover any residential accommodation on-site or within the premises.

When is a license not needed?

You do not need a licence for your business premises if the TV equipment is never used to receive or record television programme services, but is only used for closed circuit monitoring or to watch pre-recorded videos.

Penalties for TV Licence evasion

Using television receiving equipment to watch or record television programme services without the correct licence is a criminal offence.  Your business could face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

Paying for your business’s TV licence

A colour TV licence costs £145.50. A black and white TV licence costs £49.00. The licence fee is set by Government.

TV Licensing aims to make it as easy as possible for people to buy a TV Licence, which is why there are many different ways to pay.

  • Over-the-counter - people can now pay at any of almost 23,000 PayPoint outlets across the country
  • Direct Debit - monthly, quarterly or annual Direct Debit payment schemes are available and can be set up online at  
  • Online - people are now able to pay online at  by Direct Debit or with a debit or credit card
  • To find out more about paying in weekly instalments over the counter, online, by SMS or by phone using the TV Licensing Payment Card visit  
  • Debit or credit card over the phone - this facility accepts payment from a range of debit cards including Maestro, Delta and Connect
  • By post - send a cheque made payable to TV Licensing to: TV Licensing, Bristol BS98 1TL
  • BACS: Businesses can pay by BACS electronic transfer. Please phone 0300-790-6124 for more information

For more information about any of our payment options, to set up Direct Debit payments or to pay over the phone by debit or credit card please call 0300-790-6063. 

For further information, please contact the TV Licensing press office on +44(0)207-544-3144.

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