Under the direct management of the Federal Office of Culture, Cinema is one of the most important sectors. The federal cinema policies have as a goal to encourage Swiss creation as well as to ensure the diversity and quality of films shown, to reinforce the Swiss cinematographic culture, and finally to conserve and make accessible this patrimony. Other important strategies concern the digitalisation of the market (production, exploitation, archiving) in parallel with changes in consumer patterns that directly affect the Swiss cinematographic creative landscape.
Switzerland has a vivid cinema field, despite the difficulties faced with the non-integration of European cooperation programmes. According to the official statistics, from over 10 000 fiction movies produced every year globally, around 500 make their way to Swiss screens. Many film festivals play an important role, creating a space for promotion and interaction, which fortifies diversity and film exploitation.
Three tools are available to encourage the film sector: selective subventions (taking into account the diversity, quality, and exploitation of the production), subventions linked to previous success (taking into account the number of entries and international success), and investment in Swiss cinematography. The results of these measures are often calculated and readjusted. The regional funding activities of the Zurich Film Foundation and of the Cinéforom Foundation in French-speaking Switzerland (since 2012), together with funding by cantons and municipalities, complement the federal film funding provided by the FOC.
The Audiovisual Agreement (Pacte de l´Audiovisuel) signed periodically between the Swiss Radio and Television Broadcasting Society (SRG SSR) and seven professional associations in the cinema field, makes it the biggest actor in the promotion of cinema. In the recently signed 2020-2030 agreement, the SRG SSR engages to contribute around CHF 32.5 million per year to film (including animations) and television productions, as well as supporting the upcoming digitalisation challenges (such as online broadcasting). Other national and regional television broadcasting societies contribute to Swiss cinema, along with different regional, cantonal and inter-cantonal organisations. Another important tool is the one allowing trans-national co-productions; the percentage of Swiss participation is still a matter of encouragement.
The new “Promotion for investment in Swiss cinema” (PICS) is another important public tool to support filmmaking. In 2019, according to the 2019 annual report of the FOC, PICS funded 26 projects with a total of CHF 6.1 million.
According to the Culture Dispatch 2021-2024, these are the challenges to come:
Paying particular attention to online platforms and changes to the traditional way of watching movies, and what it means to creation, production, distribution and exploitation matters; paying attention to transnational co-productions in order to push Switzerland to the front and keep an equilibrium between majority and minority productions; monitoring of gender equality in the long-term; promoting Swiss films abroad; and developing strategies to maintain the equity between actors in terms of mandatory film support, especially considering online platforms.
Compared to other audiovisual and interactive media, video games are the first fully digital cultural asset. The Swiss video games industry is in constant expansion and today represents an important share of the creative industries market. In 2019, 130 companies were partially or fully committed to game production (5 times more game SMEs than in 2010). Platforms such as “Producer Workshop”, first launched in 2019, attest to the importance of partnership in the knowledge exchange on game production, network, and professionalisation. In 2019, the sector had around 590 employees and generated profits of CHF 150 million, with Zurich and the Lemanic Arc leading the way.
The Federal Council rapport on Videogames also attests to the growing importance of this sector, and the great innovation qualities of Switzerland at the forefront of videogame production. On the consumer’s side, the Swiss Interactive Entertainment Association (SIEA) evaluated in 2014 around 1.5 million active players, that have a medium age of 30 years and spend 5 to 6 hours per week playing. According to the Federal Statistics Office, 55% of the population plays occasionally, and 30% plays at least once a week.
Many events are also seeing the light in Switzerland, such as Ludicious in Zurich or Numerik Games in Yverdon-Les-Bains. Other organisations are pushing Swiss video games such as: the Swiss Game Developers’ Association (SGDA), the IGDA Switzerland Chapter, the Swiss Interactive Entertainment Association (SIEA) and the Swiss e-Sports Federation.
For further Interactive Media information see chapter 3.5.5