Swiss public TV and radio broadcaster SRG SSR will continue to be financed through the public licence fee.
The clear majority of voters (71.6%) rejected the No Billag initiative in the today’s referendum. This was the case in all linguistic regions of Switzerland.
“March 4, 2018 will go down as a turning point in the history of SRG,” said SRG’s Director General Gilles Marchand in Bern. “We are pleased about the result of the vote. But we are very aware that it places us under an obligation: an obligation to keep in even closer contact with our target audiences and to change accordingly. We are happy to accept that obligation – while always remaining guided by society, by Switzerland and by its people.”
The Chairman of the SRG board, Jean-Michel Cina, added: “Of course, this is a good day for SRG, because, by voting in this way, the voters have legitimised the concept of public service media. And the result is equally pleasing for the 34 commercial radio and TV stations receiving a share of the licence fee.”
“But above all it’s a good day for everyone who believes it is important to have an independent, balanced news service in all four linguistic regions, and that it is important to produce our own Swiss films, support local music and bring Swiss sporting events into people’s living rooms,” continued Cina. “What the majority supported today is the idea of a cohesive and diverse Switzerland.”
Following the vote, SRG has announced a set of measures to sharpen its profile as a public service broadcaster, differentiating itself more clearly from commercial broadcasters. SRG will, for example, no longer interrupt its evening feature films with commercials. The public broadcaster will also no longer publish editorial articles on the internet that are not related to an audio or video clip on its news websites, thereby providing less competition to commercial operators of online publications, e.g. newspapers.
SRG also accepts that it will not be allowed to publish online advertising for the foreseeable future. The broadcaster will refrain from offering regional advertising aimed at specific target groups, even if the regulations would permit this in future. The aim is to avoid intensifying the competition with regional media.
Furthermore, SRG will make its archive material available to commercial Swiss media providers. The broadcaster is also willing to work with other Swiss radio stations to set up a national ‘radio player’ platform. In addition, SRG is open to entering into partnerships to run the music channels Swiss Pop, Swiss Jazz and Swiss Classic.