In the United States, nearly 36 million households voluntarily pay some $8 a month for access to Netflix. Add in international subscribers and DVD-only subscribers, and that’s a grand total of 54 million paying subscribers.
In the United Kingdom, over 25 million households compulsorily pay £12.13 ($19.57) every month for the privilege of owning a television. This amount—collected yearly—is the “license fee” that UK residents with a television pay to fund the BBC.
In return for the fee, British TV owners get four radio stations, two television channels, a website that streams all the BBC’s radio and TV from the past week, and several more free channels and stations if they have a digital box. The programming across these media covers drama, comedy, movies, children’s shows, sports, live events, and some wonderful documentaries—and precisely zero advertising. It is by any measure a great value for money.
But is it a better value than Netflix? The BBC…