Saying no to a levy on streaming companies in Switzerland

A referendum is being held on a new law requiring video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon to invest 4% of their Swiss turnover in local film productions in future. 

This content was published on April 12, 2022 minutes

Under the the so-called Lex Netflix amendment, if the streaming services choose not to invest, they will have to pay a levy to the Federal Office of Culture. This is expected to generate between CHF18 million ($19.3 million) and CHF30 million a year for the Swiss film industry, according to estimates from the culture office and the Swiss parliament.

The law also states that European films must account for 30% of all content made available on the platforms, in line with European Union requirements. 

The youth wings of Switzerland’s main centre-right and rightwing political parties had already announced a referendum before the government decision to impose a levy was made. They fear the law could drive up subscription prices for streaming services. They also believe that streaming services will try to make up for the higher costs by licensing less content for Swiss subscribers, resulting in fewer films and series being made available to a Swiss audience. 

They have collected enough signatures to force a national referendum, to be held on May 15.

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