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Switzerland approves the Lex Netflix, imposing streaming platforms a product catalogue with at least 30% of European production

Switzerland voted in favor of a law that now imposes streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+ a minimum investment in Swiss cinema productions and a catalogue with European content.

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Swiss voted and approved the Lex Netflix on May 15 with 58% in favor of the law. Streaming platforms now have an obligation to invest in Switzerland and propose a minimum of European productions to their users.

The results were surprisingly high. French-speaking regions in Switzerland massively approved it while voters in German-speaking Switzerland were less in favor of it, with some cantons like Schwyz and Schaffhausen voting against the law.

The Lex Netflix imposes streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+ or Swisscom BlueTV to invest at least 4% of their turnover in Switzerland in Swiss cinema production, which can be spent in movies, series or documentaries. They will be able to decide which projects they invest in, they can buy a film already shot or only partially finance a production.

If they don’t invest sufficiently, a tax will compensate the lack of investment. Foreign TV broadcasters with advertising specifically targeted to Switzerland will need to comply with the investment requirements.

Turnover of streaming platforms in Switzerland is about 300 million Swiss francs a year ($300 million). The increase in investment for the Swiss cinematographic production is expected to amount to 18 million F a year.

Moreover, product catalogues of streaming platforms in Switzerland need to have at least 30% of European productions.

The Federal Council and the parliament majority supported the law, noting that Swiss television is already bound to invest these 4% and consider it is fair that streaming platforms do the same. Moreover, Swiss television is also forced to broadcast at least 50% of European productions.

The Lex Netflix was adopted by the parliament last October but several conservative and center-right parties collected enough signatures to challenge it in a referendum. Parties against the law consider it is a move to satisfy the cinema industry lobby, that it would end up increasing subscription prices, and the product catalogue should be defined based on market laws and what users want to watch.

During this quarterly votation session, Swiss citizens also approved a contribution increase for Frontex, the border control agency of the Schengen Area. And they agreed on an amendment that now puts all citizens a voluntary organ donor, unless they specifically ask otherwise.

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