Country Focus: Switzerland
Swiss professionals feel wronged by foreign networks
by Anna Percival
01/03/2010 - With the exception of public TV service SRG SSR idée suisse, which invests an annual sum of over €13.5m through the Audiovisual Pact, private Swiss networks have to devote 4% of their gross income to domestic film production.
Foreign networks which broadcast from their country of origin are not subject to this legal requirement. French network M6, which broadcasts its programmes in French-speaking Switzerland, with advertising windows aimed at Swiss audiences, is exempt from any obligation towards Swiss production.
This is why the SFP (Swiss Producers’ Association) has protested against what it considers to be an injustice: M6 reaps in the money from advertisements shown in Switzerland, but these sizeable sums are then repatriated to France, where the network – in accordance with its agreement with the French Audiovisual Council (CSA) – must earmark “every year at least 3.2% of the previous tax year’s net annual turnover from each of its services for expenditure contributing to the development of European film production.” It remains to be proved whether European productions really benefit from M6’s contributions or whether the involvement of a French co-producer is necessary.
According to SRG SSR idée suisse, this decrease in advertising revenue could, in the long term, affect its commitment towards domestic production. Unfortunately, a lawsuit by the public TV service against M6 for unfair advertising competition and irregularities relating to broadcasting rights, was dismissed by the Federal Court.
It therefore seems likely that other foreign networks – led by TF1 – will take advantage of the loophole, depriving the Swiss professional sector of substantial revenue.