Television in Switzerland
Television in Switzerland was introduced in 1950. People who live in Switzerland and receive television services are required by law to pay a television licence fee, which is used to finance the public radio and television service SRG SSR. Licence fee-payers in all the linguistic regions of Switzerland all pay the same amount (462 CHF for 2008, counting both radio and television licences) and, in return, are entitled under the law to services of equal quality.
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 language: transmissions in French language 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 and, to this day, there's no television channel broadcasting exclusively in Romansh language. The 1960s also saw the arrival of television advertising, in 1964, and of colour television, in 1968.
In 1984, the Swiss teletext service, SwissTXT, 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 interruption of analogue broadcasting in Valais and Chablais completed the digital television transition in Switzerland.
List of channels
The following is a list of television channels broadcast in Switzerland:
- SRF 1: the first of the three national German-language channels in Switzerland (the others being SRF zwei and SRF info). Channel programming consists of local programmes as well as a wide range of American prime time shows. SRF 1 is considered to be the channel that airs more local programming, infotainment and other programmes of that nature.
- RTS Un: the first Swiss French language public television channel. It is owned by Télévision Suisse Romande.
- RSI La 1: general television channel of Radiotelevisione svizzera di lingua italiana, broadcasting in Italian for the Italian-speaking Swiss in the whole country. Its programming is made of game shows, news programmes, movies, documentaries and less frequently sports programmes.
- HD suisse: was the eighth 24-hour and high-definition television channel launched by SRG SSR idée suisse. Programming came from the four language networks of SRG SSR idée suisse, with the channel broadcasting in all four national language of Switzerland.
- SRF zwei: run under the public SRG SSR broadcasting group.
- SRF info: news channel owned by Schweizer Fernsehen.
- 3sat: public, advertising-free, television network in Central Europe.
The programming is in German, and is broadcast primarily in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It is available off the ASTRA satellite to all of Europe and North Africa and West Asia.
- Sat.1 Schweiz: Swiss version of Sat.1.
- 3+: Swiss general programming channel broadcasting since 2006.
- Star TV: cultural, cinema and lifestyle channel, with programs about upcoming movies in theaters and in the home market, musical programs (mainly videoclips) and programs about videogames.
- U1TV: transmitted by cable, its programming is made of own productions, as well as foreign television series.
- Viva Schweiz: Swiss version of Viva.
- RTL Schweiz: Swiss version of RTL. It differs from the latter only in the regionalised advertising.
- RTL II Schweiz: Swiss version of RTL II. It differs from the latter only in the regionalised advertising.
- Vox Schweiz: Swiss version of Vox. It differs from the latter only in the regionalised advertising.
- ProSieben Schweiz: Swiss version of ProSieben. It differs from the latter only in the regionalised advertising.
- Kabel 1 Schweiz: Swiss version of Kabel 1. It differs from the latter only in the regionalised advertising.
- RTS Deux: public television channel owned by Télévision Suisse Romande. The channel's programming is composed of reruns from the RTS Un television archive, children's television programs in the morning and early afternoon, teens programs in the late afternoon and evening and cultural programs or sports transmissions during prime time.
- RTS Info: virtual television channel, owned by Télévision Suisse Romande, and launched on 26 December 2006. It broadcasts 24 hours a day using an internet stream, and many times (especially in the night and the early morning) simulcasts on TSR 2. Contents of the channel are given by TSR redaction and SwissTXT.
- Rouge TV: private musical channel, primarily aimed at the 15-34 demographics.
- TVM3: first private channel allowed to broadcast in the whole Romandy after the shutdown of Télécinéromandie. It began transmission on 1 May 2004.
- TV5MONDE: global television network, broadcasting several channels of French language programming.
- TF1 Suisse: Swiss version of TF1. It differs from the latter only in the regionalised advertising.
- M6 Suisse: Swiss version of Métropole 6. It differs from the latter only in the regionalised advertising.
- W9 Suisse: Swiss version of W9. It differs from the latter only in the regionalised advertising.
- RSI La 2: public television channel owned by Radiotelevisione svizzera di lingua italiana. It's a sister channel of RSI La 1, broadcast in Italian. It mainly transmits sport programs, but also reruns and music programs. It does not broadcast any newscast.
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).
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.
- TeleZüri: the most viewed local television channel in Switzerland
- TeleBielingue: simulcast in German and French for the city of Biel/Bienne
- TeleTicino: local television channel in Italian-speaking Switzerland
- TeleBasel: local television channel in German-speaking Switzerland
In 2007 the UFCOM 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.
A number of international channels widely available in Switzerland through digital television services such as upc cablecom include:
- Al Jazeera English
- BBC One
- BBC Two
- BBC Three
- BBC Four
- CBBC Channel
- BBC World News
- Channel 4
- Channel 5
- Adult Channel
- CNBC Europe
- CNN International
- France 24
- Disney Channel
- Tiny Pop
Notes and references
- UFCOM, Reception fees
- (French) Sonia Arnal, "C'est l'autre (la vraie ?) révolution de 1968 : la TV couleur débarque en Suisse", Allez savoir !, no. 42, September 2008.
- Switzerland completes analogue switch-over
- Elenco dei programmi esteri che devono essere diffusi su linea in tutta la Svizzera (Italian)
- Swiss Federal Office for Telecommunications - Digital terrestrial television for Switzerland
- Swiss Federal Office for Telecommunications - Index of Broadcasting Stations
- SGR SSG Idée Suisse - Reception Maps (German, French or Italian only)