SRG plans reforms and job cuts despite clear No-Billag vote

SRG intends to take the public criticism of the company seriously: It announced far-reaching reforms on the Sunday of the referendum. In addition to job cuts on an as yet unknown scale, advertising and online activities are also to be restricted.


Speaking to the media in Berne, SRG's top management was visibly relieved and reassured on the one hand, but also humble on the other. The emotional campaign did not leave the company unscathed - despite the surprisingly clear No to the No Billag initiative.

"We are on the verge of a new beginning," said SRG Director General Gilles Marchand. SRG was at a "historic turning point" in its history, he said, and from now on was in a "permanent reform process".

Unknown extent of job cuts

Overall, the SRG Director General announced savings of CHF 100 million due to the reduction in licence fees from CHF 451 today to CHF 365 per year and falling advertising revenues. From next year, he said, the company would save around CHF 80 million in infrastructure, administration, technology, real estate, production processes and distribution.

Where, how and by how much the cuts will be made is still unclear to the company management. What is clear is that jobs are also affected. According to Marchand, SRG will discuss the cuts with the social partners and communicate them in due course.

A further CHF 20 million is to be reinvested. The aim is to adjust the focus of the offer. "We heard the young audience in the referendum campaign. They want to interact with the media in a new way."

No text without audio or video

Marchand went on to explain that SRG would in future spend half of its fee income on "balanced information in four languages". And it would further promote its commitment to indigenous cultural production - particularly film and series. "All with the aim of focusing on the raison d'être."

In future, SRG would also be focusing on improving its digital offering. To this end, it wants to build a multilingual platform that will allow audiences to access as many SRG productions as possible from all language regions, with the corresponding translation.

According to its own statements, SRG will in future refrain from interrupting feature films with commercial breaks. In future, no texts will be broadcast online without an audio or video contribution on the subject, Marchand said.

Cooperation instead of going it alone

SRG also wants to make its archive content available to private Swiss media providers. It also does not want to continue to offer regional target-group-specific advertising, even if this would one day be possible for regulatory reasons.

"We heard the criticism in the referendum campaign," said the SRG Director-General. He added that it would no longer be possible for SRG to go it alone in future.

This is why SRG has declared its willingness to build up a national radio player together with other Swiss radio stations. And it is open to cooperation in the operation of the music stations Swiss Pop, Swiss Jazz and Swiss Classic.

No withdrawal from Admeira

SRG rejects the idea of leaving the Admeira advertising platform. "However, we do want to welcome new shareholder partners.
support," Marchand said.

Regarding news agency SDA, he said it would not have to give any further discounts in the coming year. The contract with the agency will be extended for one year on the basis of 2018, he said.

SRG's plans will be presented in detail during the summer of 2018, according to officials. Implementation will start next year and will take place over the next five years. (SDA)

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