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Switzerland's public broadcasting service confident about future

Switzerland's public broadcasting service on Tuesday expressed confidence about its future, saying commercial radio and television stations did not pose a danger to its products.

This content was published on July 6, 1999 - 17:00

Switzerland's public broadcasting service on Tuesday expressed confidence about its future, saying commercial radio and television stations did not pose a danger to its products.

But despite the upbeat note, the media giant admitted at a news conference in Berne that its public service operations had run up losses of SFr3.4 million ($2.26 million) last year.

Armin Walpen, Director-General of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, said that SBC had successfully defended its market shares in 1998, despite the introduction of local commercial television stations.

"We find that new commercial stations such as (Zurich-based) Tele 24 do not pose a threat to the kind of public service broadcasting provided by SBC," Walpen said. Tele 24 is predominantly targetting a Zurich audience but the station's broadcasts can also be seen in other parts of Switzerland on cable.

He added that the commercial nature of such TV stations clearly influenced the product and presentation of the on-air contributions and that SBC would continue to rely on high-quality programmes which would not be produced in a purely commercial media market.

Earlier this year, SBC renamed itself SRG-SSR idée suisse. SRG and SSR stand for the German and French abbreviations for Swiss Radio and Television Corporation.

The new corporate logo was to signal that Switzerland's largest media institution would continue to pursue its government mandate of providing quality programmes for all four language regions while maintaining a cost-conscious and market oriented corporate policy.

Walpen said the media landscape in other European countries showed that there was room both for commercial media enterprises and public service institutions.

Presenting its annual report in Berne, SBC said overall losses totalled SFr3.4 million ($2.26 million) last year, which was SFr18.3 million ($12.2 million) less than the previous year.

SBC is financed by radio and television licence fees, advertising and sponsoring.

Even though revenues were stagnating, the organisation maintained that productivity had increased significantly in the past year.


Source: APD

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