Gyms warned they need a TV licence if customers are watching TV while they exercise

WITH more than 70 gyms and health clubs across Northern Ireland, TV Licensing is reminding owners of fitness clubs they need a TV licence if their members watch live TV while they exercise.

Watching TV doesn’t have to be a sedentary activity, with many gym goers choosing to watch their favourite programmes while working out, with this incentive potentially improving their fitness.

The majority of fitness clubs provide gym-goers with access to live TV while they exercise.

However, gyms and health clubs need a TV Licence if customers or staff watch live TV programmes – whether on a TV, tablet, computer or any other type of equipment.

If the gym does not have a licence then the business risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

Customers watching live TV on their own devices when out and about, however, are covered by their home licence.

TV Licensing spokesperson, Karen Grimason, said it was important gym and health club owners understood licensing requirements to ensure they were abiding by the law.

“Being caught without a TV Licence is a criminal offence and could potentially mean you’re unable to provide this form of entertainment to your members – a service many people enjoy while they work out. If you have a TV Licence your organisation can enjoy TV legally, whatever device it’s watched on.”

Mark Talley, from the Everyone Active Group, said:

“Many gym members choose to watch TV programmes during their workouts. Their particular choice of viewing serves either to distract them from their exercise, taking their mind off the exertion, or as motivation to complete their programme and work even harder.

Personalised viewing screens on equipment or more traditional cardiotheatre-type technology allow gym goers to do exactly what they want in their own environment and hence enhancing the experience provided”.

Buying a licence is easy and gym managers and owners can pay using a range of methods. You can find out if you need a licence, buy one or tell us if your details have changed by visiting or by calling the TV Licensing businesses team on 0300 790 6112.