Streaming services must now contribute towards the funding of Swiss cinema
- 4% of their turnover in Switzerland must be reinvested in Swiss cinema, which stands to benefit from an extra 18 million francs
The two houses of parliament have come to an agreement to levy a tax on foreign streaming services, an initiative which has already been introduced in other countries. Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime and Disney +, but also TF1 and M6, must henceforth invest 4% of their gross income earned in Switzerland in national film production. The initiative was born out of a proposal put forward by the Swiss government (Federal Council) which suggested a revision of the law on cinema.
As such, all providers broadcasting films and series must also invest in productions put forward by Swiss directors. Many European countries have already enacted the very same strategy, although with far higher investment obligations: 20% in Italy and 25% in France. Effectively, this will mean that the budget dedicated to Swiss cinema will rise by 18 million francs per year, which will be added to the 150 million francs already bestowed by the Confederation.
The National Council chose not to go along with proposals put forward by several parliamentarians who wanted a fixed 2% tax rate, or others who pushed for collaborations with streaming platforms. The latter will be authorised to allocate up to 500,000 francs per year of this “Netflix tax” to the advertising of Swiss cinema. They will also have to dedicate at least 30% of their programming to European films. As a non-commercial, public broadcaster, SRG SSR (Swiss Radio and Television Society) is exempt from the tax, though it is already bound to invest over 30 million francs per year in Swiss productions. As an alternative to the required investments, streaming platforms and private Swiss broadcasters have the option of paying a fee to the Federal Office of Culture (BAK).
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