Film Act revision

National Council against ruinous film tax for TV stations

After intensive negotiations over the past few months, the Interessen­gemeinschaft Radio und Fernsehen («IRF») has succeeded in ensuring that TV broadcasters in Switzerland will be able to use new, attractive forms of advertising in the future. This will put a stop to the development that threatens the existence of many broadcasters, namely the progressive erosion of advertising revenues. The Federal Council has now submitted a Film Act to parliament as part of the Cultural Message 2021–2024 which would largely undo the success of the negotiations.

The obligation to either invest 4 per cent of turnover in the promotion of Swiss cinema films or, alternatively, to pay a corresponding film tax, would put many private TV stations in Switzerland into a massive financial squeeze in the short term. This is especially true because the existing liberal crediting rules would be massively tightened.

According to the Federal Council, advertising for Swiss cinema films would no longer be eligible for credit as an investment for film promotion. The associated obligation to make a financial contribution would lead to an excessive burden, which would threaten the existence of many broadcasters. The private TV stations are still prepared to provide services for Swiss film, but demand that the corresponding advertising continue to be credited as investments – as is the production of series, documentaries, soaps, etc. In addition, the levy of 4% on gross income, which is also very high by European standards, is to be reduced to 1%.

These demands were largely met by the majority of the National Council on 7 September 2020: The obligation to invest or pay a tax was reduced to 1% of gross income, co-productions and own productions, if produced in Switzerland, are eligible. Regional television broadcasters with or without a licence are exempt from the levy. The private broadcasters are now very much hoping that the Council of States will make further improvements to the chargeability of advertising on the basis of the National Council bill.

In addition, we refer to the affected broadcasters’ own comments (see below).

The above positioning reflects the opinion of the members affected by the levy. These are the private TV stations which are retransmitted in Switzerland.

Statements from broadcasters

24 August 2020 | TELESUISSE

Förderung der Kultur in den Jahren 2021–2024 – Anrechenbarkeit von Werbeleistungen im Filmgesetz

Telesuisse sah sich in den letzten Tagen mit verschiedenen Fragen zur Bewertung der Werbeleistungen der privaten TV-Sender für das schweizerische Filmschaffen konfrontiert.

24 August 2020 | CH Media

Filmgesetz: Position CH Media

Ziel der Revision des Filmgesetzes ist, das Schweizer Filmschaffen sowie Vielfalt und Qualität des Filmangebots zu fördern. Das ist unbestritten und wird auch von CH Media unterstützt. Bei der Konkretisierung auf Gesetzeseben stehen allerdings Änderungen im Raum, die sich auf die privaten sprachregionalen und regionalen TV-Stationen der Schweiz massiv bis existenzgefährdend auswirken würden.