Television in Switzerland was introduced in 1950, with regular broadcasts commencing in 1953. People who live in Switzerland are required by law to pay a television licence fee, which is used to finance the public radio and television service SRG SSR. Since 1 January 2021, the Licence fee cost in all the linguistic regions of Switzerland is 355 CHF per year or 83.75 CHF quarterly (with a 2 CHF fee if paid via LSV+, Debit Direct, or e-billing, and the invoice is sent via email), counting both radio and television licences.[1] All licence fee payers are entitled under the law to services of equal quality. The fee is charged per household and not per person, with empty dwellings being exempt. The fee is determined by the Federal Council.

History

The history of television in Switzerland began in 1939 when the first test transmissions commenced. Regular transmissions started in 1953, at first only one hour a day for five days a week, and only in German: transmissions in French started in 1954 and in Italian only in 1958.

Romansh-speaking Swiss had to wait until 1963 for the first programme in their language, a full decade after regular television transmission were initiated. To this day, there is no dedicated Romansh-language channel; instead the German and Italian channels air a few hours of Romansh programming per day. The 1960s also saw the arrival of television advertising, in 1964, and of colour television, in 1968.

Télévision suisse romande broadcast their first evening programme in colour in 1968.[2] 1968 was also the first year where more than one million Swiss households had a television.[2]

In 1984, the Swiss teletext service, SWISS TXT, was started. In 1993 a fourth SRG SSR channel was created, first named "S Plus" but later renamed Schweiz 4 (Switzerland 4). However, this was short-lived: during its existence the channel constantly suffered low ratings and was hence shut down in 1997. In the same year, as a result, all the SRG SSR subsidiaries started a second channel, and SRF zwei, RTS Deux and RSI La 2 came into existence.

Analogue television was phased out starting July 2006, when TSI (now RSI) began the analogue switchoff. The process continued until January 2008, when the end of analogue broadcasting in Valais and Chablais completed the digital television transition in Switzerland.[3]

In September 2018, SRG SSR announced that it would discontinue over-the-air broadcasting in DVB-T in 2019, citing costs, rather than implement DVB-T2. The services will remain available via encrypted free-to-view satellite, which offers all SRG SSR channels in high definition.[4]

List of channels

The following is a list of television channels broadcast in Switzerland:

German-speaking Switzerland

Switzerland receives some domestic cable networks from Germany, which may involve the substitution of German advertising with domestic Swiss advertising by the local provider.

German channels available in Switzerland with local advertising: RTL, RTL II, Super RTL, Vox, Kabel 1, Sixx
Unlocalised German and Austrian channels available in Switzerland: all public and most commercial channels from the neighbouring countries are widely available in Switzerland through cable TV.


Most-viewed channels

The channels with the largest viewing share in 2021 (1. Semester) are:[5]

Position Channel Group Share of
total viewing (%)
1 SRF 1 SRG SSR 19.6
2 SRF zwei SRG SSR 10.3
3 ZDF ZDF 6.4
4 Das Erste ARD 5.6
5 RTL RTL Group 4.7
6 VOX RTL Group 3.1
7 Sat.1 ProSiebenSat.1 Media 2.9
8 SRF info SRG SSR 2.2
9 ProSieben ProSiebenSat.1 Media 1.9
10 3+ CH Media 1.7

French-speaking Switzerland

Switzerland receives some domestic cable networks from France, which may involve the substitution of French advertising with domestic Swiss advertising by the local provider.

Unlocalised French channels available in Switzerland: all public and most commercial channels from the neighbouring countries are widely available in Switzerland through cable TV.

Italian-speaking Switzerland

Switzerland receives some domestic cable networks from Italy, which may involve the substitution of Italian advertising with domestic Swiss advertising by the local provider.

Unlocalised Italian channels available in Switzerland: all public and most commercial channels from the neighbouring countries are widely available in Switzerland through cable TV.

Romansh-speaking Switzerland

There is not a television channel broadcasting exclusively in Romansh language; instead, Radio Television Rumantscha's productions are transmitted on SRF 1, RSI La 2 and SRF info a few minutes a day. Programming includes Telesguard (a newscast), Cuntrasts and l'Istorgia da buna notg (bedtime story).

Regional channels

Local radio and television networks in Switzerland are entitled to 4% of the licence fee every year (about 50,000,000 CHF for 2007). The number of subsidised television broadcasters is limited to 13, one for each designated coverage area. Also, the support share cannot exceed 50% of the operating costs of each network.[1]

Cable television

A vast majority of the country is covered by cable networks; the major cable television operators is UPC Switzerland.

In 2007, the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) applied a must-carry regulation, requiring the local cable companies to transmit all the SRG SSR network stations and the following foreign channels: arte, 3sat, Euronews, TV5MONDE, ARD, ORF eins, France 2, Rai Uno.[6]

International channels

All public and most commercial channels from the neighbouring countries are widely available in Switzerland through digital television services.

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Fee Overview". SERAFE AG. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  2. ^ a b (in French) Sonia Arnal, "C'est l'autre (la vraie ?) révolution de 1968 : la TV couleur débarque en Suisse" Archived 12 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Allez savoir !, no. 42, September 2008.
  3. ^ Switzerland completes analogue switch-over
  4. ^ "Switzerland to end terrestrial television". Broadband TV News. 5 September 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Marktanteile in der Deutschschweiz" (PDF). Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  6. ^ Elenco dei programmi esteri che devono essere diffusi su linea in tutta la Svizzera (in Italian)

See also