Swiss TV providers to charge up to 94 francs a year for catch up and replay
It has been threatened for a long time, and now it's here: the two largest TV, phone and internet providers in Switzerland, Swisscom and Sunrise, have announced that they will begin charging for replay TV and catchup functions on their platforms. From October 4, 19 TV channels will require customers to pay up to 94 francs a year for catch up, with more channels expected to follow suit.
Swisscom and Sunrise to have people pay for TV replay function
After previous announcements by Init7 and Salt, Swisscom and Sunrise have confirmed that from October 4, people will have to pay between 6,90 and 7,90 francs a month for the privilege of being able to skip advertisements while watching some TV channels. The function will be entirely optional and can be activated at any time - it can also be terminated within one month's notice.
According to Le Matin, those that don’t pay for replay TV will face the following barriers:
- If the programme has already been aired, an ad will play before the show starts, similar to YouTube
- You may only skip a maximum of 130 seconds of advertisements mid-show
- If you pause a live programme or stream, an ad will fill your screen
Broadcasters argue that the extra charge is necessary, as they lose significant amounts of advertising revenue by people skipping advertisements. After a compromise was made earlier in the year between international companies, broadcasters, and TV providers, it is expected that all TV subscriptions in Switzerland will have some form of ad-skipping surcharge by 2023.
Paying for catchup to start with 19 Swiss channels in October
From October 4, the first 19 channels will be switched over to the new system, all of which are in German or Swiss-German. Swisscom told Le Matin that "only a few French-speaking and Italian-speaking channels are currently planning to do the same," although couldn’t say when these channels would make the switch.
However, many in the Swiss media believe that this payment system will spread, with SRG SSR - the company that operates the national broadcasters SRF, RTS, RSI and RTR - telling the Tages-Anzeiger that “discussions are underway” regarding the addition of publicly funded channels. It remains unclear whether any English-speaking channels will be included in the new package.
As compensation for the extra charge, Swisscom has promised upgrades to the viewing experience on the channels affected. For example, instead of having to wait several minutes before the show starts, the company has promised that viewers will be sent directly to the start of the show when they hit replay - so long as they have paid for the ad-free experience, of course.