BBC licence fee: Baroness Hoey calls for it to be 'abolished'
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A campaign group lobbying for the return of free TV licences for over-75s has accused the broadcaster of taking older viewers “for granted”. It comes after the broadcaster announced earlier this week it was investing in returning BBC Three to live broadcast from next year.
The channel was shut down in 2016 and moved to online-only, but the BBC has now reversed the decision in a bid to win over younger audiences.
Dennis Reed, Director of the campaign group Silver Voices, said investing money on BBC Three while over-75s had their free TV licences stripped from them was proof of the broadcaster’s priorities.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think it’s illustrative that the reason given for bringing back BBC Three is to attract a younger audience.
“It is clearly a matter of priorities here.
“The BBC clearly has decided rather than giving back the free licence to the older viewers, they want to attract younger get viewers.
“It’s the older viewers who are the loyal BBC people who do like to watch BBC programmes who are basically being taken for granted while the broadcaster uses whatever available funding its got to attract the younger generation.”
Silver Voices has been campaigning for free TV licences to be returned to all over-75s after the BBC announced it was stripping the benefit from all those not receiving pension credit.
The corporation said it had no choice to remove the perk due to a shortfall in funding.
Since August last year pensioners have been asked to cough up £157.50 a year to watch TV.
The decision to, therefore, invest in reopening BBC Three has left some scratching their heads.
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Mr Reed continued: “It’s almost like your car insurance.
“Those that stick with the insurance company tends to get the big annual pay increases.
“All the available money and investment is put into attracting new customers with knock-down deals.
“It’s a similar scenario. The older viewers are taken for granted while resources are used to attract people from a different age profile.”
Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s Chief Content Officer, said BBC Three had “resulted in hit after hit” and it made sense for the channel to return.
She said: “The BBC needs to back success and make sure its programmes reach as many young people as possible wherever they live in the UK.
“So regardless of the debates about the past, we want to give BBC Three its own broadcast channel again.
“It has exciting, groundbreaking content that deserves the widest possible audience and using BBC iPlayer alongside a broadcast channel will deliver the most value.”
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