Licence fee and funding

The BBC is primarily funded by the licence fee, supplemented by income from our commercial subsidiaries

Funding through the TV licence

A standard TV licence is currently £159

A TV licence is required if you:

  • watch or record live TV programmes on any channel
  • download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer - live, catch up or on demand

This applies to any provider you use and any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

What the licence fee pays for

Funding from the licence fee allows the BBC to provide an unparalleled range of programmes and services across TV, radio and online. More information about the breadth of content the BBC produces can be found here:

In addition to funding programmes and services, a proportion of the licence fee funds the BBC World Service broadcasting in 42 languages including English globally, as well as funding the Welsh Language TV channel S4C and Local Democracy Reporters

The licence fee allows the BBC's UK services to remain free of advertisements and independent of shareholder and political interest.

Commercial income

The licence fee is supplemented by income from the activities of our three commercial subsidiaries - BBC Studios and BBC Studioworks.

  • Commercial servicesOur commercial operations generate income to invest in new programmes and content

Ensuring value for money

The BBC is focussed on delivering value for all audiences. In a world of rapidly increasing choice the BBC continues to reach 90% of UK adults on average each week, rising to 97% over a month, and is the nation’s number one media brand.

  • Reduction in overheads
    Overheads remain at industry-leading levels, at only 5% of our total costs, with 95% directed to audience-facing content and services
  • UK economy
    The BBC has wide ranging impacts on the UK economy. For every £1 of the BBC’s economic activity, £2.63 is generated in the economy.
  • Commercial income
    £1,384 million in 2021/22.
  • Culminative savings
    £1 billion worth of savings delivered since 2016/17.

In 2021/22 this is how your monthly licence fee was spent:

Graph to show how the monthly licence fee is spent in 2021/22.
How your monthly licence fee is spent