I wonder if the media release yesterday might in part be preparing the public and government for increased revenue requests, and stating what might happen if they're unsuccessful.
Also according to the website as of 31st March 2017 there were 4.39 million over 75 licences in force. The BBC's subsidy from the government is £468 million for this year 2018/19, approximately half the following year, and £0 from 2020/21 onwards. Realistically I can see changes being made to either be a reduced rate instead of completely free (e.g. £50.50), and/or increasing the age at which people qualify (e.g. 80).
Neither option would be particularly popular, but the BBC has now made it clear what might happen if they don't get increased funding from somewhere.
Low and behold just over a month later...
BBC launches consultation on TV licence fee for over-75s
The BBC is launching a consultation period to decide how licence fees for over-75s should be paid for.
Full BBC News article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-46274054
Press release: https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2018/tv-licence-consultation
"Listen, we've all got something to bring to this conversation, but from now on what I think you should bring is silence." - Rimmer