Thanks to its multilingualism and cultural diversity, Switzerland has a rich and extensive media landscape. Newspapers are still more popular than television or radio. The federal government supports the media to ensure diversity of opinion.
Swiss people prefer to read newspapers, either online or in print, than listen to the radio or watch television. Social media is more popular with young people under the age of 30. To ensure a diversity of views and political opinions, the federal government has provided annual subsidies of between CHF 130 and 140 million to the media for the past decade. In addition, the media receives indirect funding from radio and TV licence fees, while reading, film and the press are also promoted. Two major media groups dominate the Swiss market: TX Group (including Tamedia) and Ringier, both based in Zurich. The NZZ Media Group and AZ Medien, which merged to form the joint venture CH Media, are also major players.
Newspapers and magazines
Some 1,400 media companies operate in Switzerland, employing over 28,000 people. In 2022, Switzerland had 251 print publications with a total circulation of 4.8 million – 213 publications in German, 29 in French, 9 in Italian and 2 in Romansh. These include paid and free newspapers, magazines, publications by associations and official gazettes. Although the federal government supports the press, for example by subsidising the delivery costs charged by Swiss Post, total print circulation has practically halved since 2010.
The most widely read newspapers in German-speaking Switzerland are the subscription-based Schweiz am Wochenende and free newspaper 20 Minuten, in French-speaking Switzerland, the free newspaper 20 Minutes, and in Italian-speaking Switzerland, the subscription-based Corriere del Ticino. The paid magazine market is dominated by Der Beobachter and Schweizer Familie in German-speaking Switzerland, Guide TV and L'Illustré in French-speaking Switzerland and I'lllustrazione Ticinese in Ticino.
Television and radio
Alongside state radio and television, Switzerland has 38 local and regional radio and TV broadcasters which are subsidised by the federal government. Ten-year licenses for operating subsidised radio and TV channels are awarded as part of a competitive procedure based on certain criteria. The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR runs 17 public radio and 7 TV channels in all 4 national languages. It also provides online content in a variety of formats on a number of channels.
The various SRG radio and TV channels are the clear market leaders. SRF 1 is the most popular radio channel in German-speaking Switzerland, La Première in French-speaking Switzerland, and Rete Uno in Italian-speaking Switzerland. TV channel SRF1 has the highest number of viewers in German-speaking Switzerland, RTS1 in French-speaking Switzerland and RSI La 1 in Italian-speaking Switzerland. While local and regional channels are also key players in the radio market, non-Swiss channels are also in demand in the TV market. Over 240 privately owned local and regional radio channels and 190 TV channels are also registered but do not receive government funding. These programmes are available on the internet or through cable and satellite networks and digital audio broadcasting (DAB) services.