As students from Eastbourne begin university for the first time, new research commissioned by TV Licensing has found new students may be unaware of the law for watching live TV online.
More than a quarter (28%) of new students in the UK heading off to university for the first time wrongly believe they do not need a TV Licence when watching or streaming live TV on their laptop.
With more than 420,000 students around the UK starting this autumn, that percentage equates to more than 100,000.
The new findings also reveal almost a third of students (31%) think they do not need a TV Licence when streaming or watching live TV on a mobile device. Students are now leading the take up of mobile devices – with 86% possessing an internet-enabled phone - so it’s crucial they understand the law when it comes to watching live TV, however they watch it.
Students who watch live programmes as they are being shown on TV, without a TV Licence, risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.
“Our new research shows how important it is for students to understand the law when it comes to watching live TV. We’re working with universities around the UK, including the University of Brighton to ensure students who want to watch live TV can do so legally and with the peace of mind they are on the right side of the law. A TV Licence, at £145.50, can be bought online in minutes,” said Victoria Sykes, TV Licensing spokesperson for London and the South East.
“In addition, students who buy a TV Licence at the start of the academic year could benefit from a refund if moving home for three full months over the summer.” she added.
Nik Taylor, editor of student community website The Student Room, said: “Buying a TV licence is a hot topic for students at this time of year. We see many conversations on The Student Room among people who don’t know whether they need one for their halls or shared houses.
“TV Licensing and The Student Room are keen to help students watch the TV they want, legally and anyone with questions about their TV Licence can get a clear, simple answer on the TV Licensing website. Students put off by the cost of paying in full can always opt to pay in instalments.”