SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

SWISS REFERENDUM

What is the ‘Netflix vote’ and how could it change TV in Switzerland?

The result of Switzerland's 'Netflix referendum' could see streaming costs increase, alongside significant programming changes. Here's what you need to know.

What is the ‘Netflix vote’ and how could it change TV in Switzerland?
Netflix has pulled the plug on two Danish productions after local agreement requires more pay, rights for industry creatives. Photo: Pixabay

On May 15th, the Swiss will go to the polls to decide on three issues, including one that would, if passed, regulate the content of streaming services.

In the second of four rounds of national referendums scheduled for 2022, the Swiss will head to the polls on May 15th to decide on three issues: The Film Act (dubbed ‘Lex Netflix), support for European border guards (Frontex), and transplant /organ donation law.

EXPLAINED: What’s at stake in Switzerland’s May referendums?

As elsewhere, streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and others have become very popular in Switzerland.

According to Moneyland.ch, a price comparison platform, Netflix alone has 3.4 million subscribers in Switzerland, more than other streaming services combined.

However the Federal Council and the parliament want to raise the price of subscription (for Netflix, monthly costs range from 11.90 to 24.90 francs a month, depending on the plan).

What is the ‘Lex Netflix’ vote about?

Currently, national and regional channels must invest four percent of their profits in Swiss cinema. The Federal Council and parliament have decided that streaming platforms should contribute the same percentage to support domestic film-making as well.

The law also stipulates that 30 percent of the content of streaming services must consist of films or series produced in Europe.

While the move has incited opposition (see below), Switzerland is not the only country to take these measures, though the proportion of mandated indigenous production is higher than elsewhere.

In France, platforms must invest 26 percent of their turnover in local films and series, and in Italy 20 percent. In Germany, there is no obligation to invest, but a tax of 2.5 percent is levied.

Who is against this proposed change, and why?

A multi-party committee has launched a referendum against this law, claiming it would make streaming services more expensive.

“The law completely bypasses consumers and the new tax is an attack on their wallets”, according to Matthias Müller, chairman of the referendum committee.

The second bone of contention concerns the imposition of the 30 percent proportion of European content, which means “consumers will no longer have the freedom to watch what they want and will become, without valid reason, the victims of an absurd quota”.

The committee also argues that the “tax on films” constitutes “an attack on economic freedom”.

Will the law be accepted or rejected?

Just two weeks before the vote, the Swiss populace appears split on the issue. 

The latest poll carried out at the end of April by Switzerland’s largest media group, Tamedia, shows that 47 percent of respondents would reject the project , while 49 percent would accept it.

The fate of what will certainly be a very close outcome lies with the four percent of  voters who are still undecided. So, as they say in many Netflix shows… stay tuned!

READ MORE: Frontex: How Switzerland’s ‘border vote’ on May 15th could impact travel

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

SWISS REFERENDUM

First same-sex couples get married in Switzerland

The first same-sex couples tied the knot in Switzerland on Friday following a referendum that changed the landscape for gay rights in the country.

First same-sex couples get married in Switzerland

 Among the first to get married were Aline, 46, and Laure, 45, who have been together for 21 years and converted their civil union into marriage at the plush Palais Eynard in Geneva.

Beneath a sparkling chandelier in a mirrored salon, and with a dozen or so close friends and family in attendance, the couple exchanged touching words recalling their years together and love for each other.

Holding hands throughout the ceremony, they signed the official documents, followed by their witnesses.

“I am now very pleased to announce that you are officially married,” said the Mayor of Geneva, Marie Barbey-Chappuis, who conducted the first ceremony in person.

READ MORE: ‘Deviance and morality’: The history of the same-sex marriage movement in Switzerland

The room burst into applause as the couple exchanged a kiss.

“It was very moving. It’s a big moment and sends a very strong message to society — being free to love and be loved,” Barbey-Chappuis told AFP afterwards.

“The symbolism was particularly strong and the emotion too”.

It was high time that marriage became perfectly equal in Switzerland. “It marks a moment in the history of Switzerland and of the institution of marriage.”

Switzerland is one of the last remaining western European nations to adopt same-sex marriages. The Netherlands was the first to make the change in 2001.

The Swiss government’s plans to introduce “marriage for all” were challenged by opponents, who successfully triggered a referendum on the issue that was held last September. But 64.1 percent of voters backed the introduction of same-sex marriage in he wealthy Alpine nation.

Switzerland decriminalised homosexuality in 1942. Before Friday, same-sex  couples could only register a civil partnership. However, that status does not provide the same rights as marriage, including for obtaining citizenship and the joint adoption of children.

READ MORE: Everything that changes in Switzerland in July 2022

Same-sex couples can now marry in civil ceremonies and enjoy the same rights as other married couples.

Same-sex foreign spouses are now eligible to apply for citizenship through a simplified procedure and same-sex couples are now permitted to adopt jointly.

SHOW COMMENTS