The new cinema law misses the needs of consumers, says a referendum committee, made up in particular of right-wing and center youth parties. He denounces a completely useless new ‘film tax’.
The law on cinema, in vote on May 15, provides that streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon or Disney + pay each year at least 4% of their gross receipts to the Swiss film industry. They will also be obliged to program 30% of European films.
“The cinema law completely bypasses consumers and the new tax on films is a frontal attack on their wallets, denounced Tuesday before the media in Bern Matthias Müller, president of the referendum committee and of the Young Liberals-Radicals. “We will have to pay higher subscription fees for Netflix and the like in the future, which is simply unfair.”
For the referendum committee, the investment obligation is equivalent to a tax on films: these are means which are withdrawn from the actors concerned and redistributed. “If private suppliers now have to pay additional taxes to Swiss filmmakers, these costs will end up falling on consumers,” argued Daniela Schneeberger, vice-president of the Swiss Union of Arts and Crafts (USAM) and national adviser PLR.
This new tax on films is also completely unnecessary, because cinematographic creation is already subsidized each year to the tune of more than 120 million francs. Private Swiss channels will also have to pay more, which is unnecessary and harms the Swiss economy, the committee believes.
A ‘protectionist’ logic
For David Trachsel, president of the young UDC, the law dictates to consumers what to watch and will lead to higher subscription prices for streaming services. According to him, ‘it is inadmissible for parliamentarians to tax the consumption of films and television by young people to serve their clientele’.
This legal modification installs the policy of support for the cinema in a logic “protectionist, euro-centered and of turning in on oneself”, estimates for her part Virginie Cavalli, co-president of the Young Green’liberals. ‘Limiting support for cinema to the nationality of its producers is simply absurd and contrary to the freedom that is induced by any form of art’.
The referendum was launched by the Young Liberal-Radicals, the Young UDC and the Young Green’liberals. He is also supported by the young people of the Center, as well as by the PLR and the pirate party. The Swiss Consumer Forum, the Swiss Union of Arts and Crafts (USAM), Telesuisse, the Swiss Association of Private Televisions, Aktion Medienfreiheit (Media Freedom Action) and Suisse Digital also oppose the new law.