The BBC has refused to disclose how many people say they do not need a television licence because they watch programmes online instead, it has emerged.
More than a million households do not pay the £145.50 annual fee, according to reports.
And increasing numbers are taking advantage of the "catch-up" loophole which allows viewers to use online catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer and ITV Player without owning a licence.
Almost all programmes are available online after their live broadcast. The BBC has recently decided to make some programmes, such as a new Peter Kay sitcom, available on iPlayer before they are broadcast, meaning that viewers without a licence could enjoy them several weeks before those who pay.