In line with the EU’s Digital Services Act, Switzerland has been considering installing a law on digital streaming platforms. While the Swiss Parliament approved of reforming the current law to include international streaming platforms back in September 2021, opponents had garnered enough support to force a nationwide referendum – which took place on 15 May 2022.

Switzerland’s current law affects national or regional distributors of television programmes. Such distributors are required to invest 4% of their revenue into Swiss cinema productions, boosting the local film industry and encouraging the creation of content relevant to the country.

The revisions to the law propose that digital streaming platforms also invest 4% of their revenue from Switzerland into local productions, like the requirement on local distributors. It goes further, though, and requires at least 30% of the content broadcast to have been produced within Europe, including in Switzerland.

Final results of the referendum showed 58.4% in favour of this initiative, and the Federal Office of Culture estimates the contribution to the local film industry will reach CHF18 million (US$18.2 million), which will supplement the industry’s current CHF39 million annual federal funding.

The revisions to the law propose that digital streaming platforms also invest 4% of their revenue from Switzerland into local productions, like the requirement on local distributors

This is the latest in a string of media-related referendums for the Swiss. In 2018, Swiss voters dismissed a proposal to abolish the mandatory licence fee for public broadcasters (the licence fee, itself, passed a referendum back in 2015 with 50.1% of the votes). Earlier this year, voters rejected a financial package to support print and online products produced by Swiss media.

The legal reforms will come into force in 2024, and streaming platforms will be given four years to adapt.

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Francisco Javier Curto
Senior Manager. Tax Support

Local Knowledge – International Coverage

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