Switzerland poised to impose 4% video streaming levy

There are fears that streaming platforms will pass on the proposed levy to consumers. Keystone

Video streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+, may in future be obliged to donate 4% of their profits towards supporting the Swiss film industry.

This content was published on September 16, 2021 - 14:21

On Thursday, both chambers of the Swiss parliament agreed on the amount to be surrendered by streaming companies. However, the proposed reform has yet to be passed into law and could even then be challenged by a referendum.

Should the proposal make it past these hurdles, the Swiss film industry could benefit from an additional CHF18 million ($19.6 million) per year – on top of the CHF150 million in federal and cantonal funding, reports Swiss public broadcaster SRF. The money would go to the Swiss culture ministry if streaming firms cannot find any local film projects to support directly.

The proposed law would also oblige streaming platforms to offer at least 30% European films to viewers in Switzerland. 

France already obliges streaming services to invest 25% of their income into the domestic film industry and Italy 20%, according to news agency Keystone-SDA.

But even if the law passes through its final stages in parliament, as expected, the levy could still face another challenge: a group of right leaning and centre political parties have threatened to force a public vote on the issue. They fear streaming companies would only pass on costs to consumers, making it more expensive to use their services.

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