Strengthening the Swiss advertising market against global competition is the aim of a new joint venture between the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC, swissinfo’s parent company), telecommunications firm Swisscom and media giant Ringier, the partners announced on Monday.
Marc Walder, CEO of Ringier, said the aim was “to offer a strong Swiss alternative to globally operating companies, develop innovative new forms of advertising and strengthen the Swiss advertising market to keep the value added in Switzerland”.
“In the past year, Google and Facebook alone achieved a market share in the region of 50% of the digital advertising market in Switzerland,” Walder added.
Under the new joint venture, which will begin operating in the first quarter of 2016, the three companies want to offer clients integrated and customised advertising across all media formats. Their aim is to enable advertising clients to “reach any target group in Switzerland easily, quickly, effectively and measurably,” according to a joint statement from the three entities.
Swisscom will contribute its technological expertise to the new company, and all three groups will provide the marketing rights to their media services. Swisscom and Ringier will bring their advertising inventory, and the SBC’s marketing unit, Publisuisse, will be integrated into the group.
The venture is subject to approval by the WEKO Competition Commission, the Swiss Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, and the Federal Office of Communications.
A stock corporation will be formed, with each of the three companies holding a one-third interest. Martin Schneider, CEO of Publisuisse, will serve as the CEO of the new firm – which has not yet been given a name – and Ringier’s Walder will serve as chairman of the board. SBC’s Roger de Weck and Swisscom’s Urs Schaeppi will represent their companies on the new board.
Swiss Media, the Zurich-based association of around 100 private media companies, welcomed the collaboration calling it “new and innovative”. However, it wanted the proposed group to be open to other market players and insisted that the SBC continue to refrain from online advertising on its own platforms.
Private media group Tamedia responded by stating that they will be following their own digital media commercialistation strategy and the venture will not affect the way it operates.
Aktion Medienfreiheit, an organisation headed by parliamentarians from the conservative right Swiss People’s Party and the centre-right Radical Party was not so keen on the venture. In a statement, the organisation expressed its dissatisfaction about state-owned SBC and Swisscom venturing into a domain that is normally associated with private companies.