RTL and Pro7 to stop Swiss programme

The German television channels RTL and Pro7 are to cancel their joint Swiss-dedicated broadcast window after only seven months on air.

This content was published on March 24, 2000 - 09:34

The German television channels RTL and Pro7 are to cancel their joint Swiss-dedicated broadcast window after only seven months on air.

According to the window's director, Mario Aldrovandi, losses over a four and a half month period totalled Sfr8 million, while the budget had allowed for up to Sfr6 million.

The 100-minute window, aimed specifically at Swiss viewers of the channels' regular output, was first broadcast in August 1999. With the exception of the early evening news programme, it picked up ratings of around 10 per cent of Switzerland's television audience. The news programme obtained a 12 per cent rating. However, viewing figures slumped drastically during the evening, dropping to only five per cent.

73 staff members will lose their jobs as a result of the closure. Their union has attacked the decision to shut down, saying that it should be based on more than the failure to meet a viewing target.

Last week TV3, a channel in German-speaking Switzerland, cancelled its main news programme with the loss of 35 jobs.

In response to the latest decision, the Swiss communications minister, Moritz Leuenberger, said he could do nothing about the size of the country's television market. The granting of a licence to a commercial broadcaster was, he said, no guarantee of success.

Recent studies have shown that new commercial television channels trying to build an audience face stiff competition from Switzerland's main public broadcaster, SBC, which has a loyal pool of viewers.

swissinfo with agencies

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