In Switzerland, it was decided during a referendum that international streaming services will also have to invest in local productions. This will make Switzerland the next European nation to use the revenues of major streaming services to support the local film and television market and stimulate the creation of local content.

The proposal was approved by 58 percent of the participants in the referendum, which has binding force.

The referendum – which was given the name “Lex Netflix” – stipulates that international streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon or Disney will have to reinvest 4 percent of the revenue they generate in Switzerland in local film production.

The streaming services will have the opportunity to purchase local content or start up Swiss productions themselves. They can also participate in investment projects that support the Swiss film and television market.

“The result of the referendum underscores the cultural importance of film production in Switzerland,” Swiss Interior minister Alain Berset said in a statement.

Netflix said it would respect the result of the referendum and pledged its cooperation with the government for investment in the sector. “We believe that good stories can come from anywhere,” a company spokesperson noted. “Netflix has also invested in Switzerland in the past.”

With the referendum, Switzerland is following a trend that could already be noticed elsewhere in Europe. “A similar law has been passed in Portugal,” Euractiv news site noted.

“In that country, streaming service providers were already required to pay 1 percent of their income to the Instituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual (ICA).”

“Spain has decided to levy a tax on the income of the streaming services. Denmark is considering introducing the same measure. France and Italy, on the other hand, oblige streaming services to invest part of their revenues in European content in local languages.”

In another referendum, 72 percent of the participants approved the increase in funding for Frontex, the European Border Protection Agency.

A negative outcome could have forced Switzerland out of the Schengen Agreement, which allows passport-free movement in 26 countries in Europe. The country could also be excluded from the Dublin system for coordinating asylum applications.

A third referendum ensured that everyone in Switzerland automatically becomes a potential organ donor from now on. Persons who do not want to give up organs after their death will have to explicitly report this in advance. That measure was approved by 60 percent of the participants.

About the author: Louise Roth

Louise Roth is the youngest member of WeeklyNewsReview team. Despite the young age Louise is interested in serious topics. Her main interests and education is all about economics and politics. But in our team she is the most productive do-it-all member, so she has to write on a variety of topics.

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