Billag tax hack?


How is it free if every single resident has to pay 365 CHF per year to have access to it?
And what I especially don’t get is that we are in 2019, and it is not as if subscription-based business models were not successful in the rest of the world (Netflix and Hulu cost substantially less than 365 CHF per year, and are not know for having big losses…). So the single best principle would be that “you use it, you pay for it.”

And if the swiss national TV/radio is not good and profitable enough to face competition, then maybe we should not have such an entity…


In Switzerland, TV/Radio is a public service. As all public service, you should pay even if you are not using it. (you pay schoold even if you don’t have children, ect).
Swiss citizens have voted on this topic, thus we should accept the result.
As Switzerland is too small and has three languages, a private company woudn’t be able to deliver a good service relying only on ads and subscriptions.

In any case, I agree that the public TV/Radio should only provide news and docs, not entertainment.


I’m totally on your side and of course I voted yes to NoBillag. But the Swiss people apparently see it differently. But that’s just the way taxes work you pay for stuff even if you never use it. Schools, Hospitals, Social Welfare, Roads etc.

Why is the tax not simply included in the existing tax: Because they want it to be a “per household” tax. So they have to use a separate process. Whether this makes any sense is another story.

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Free media in the sense that it does not depend on the current ruling government for funding. So in way politicians have less influence on news. I come from a country where the national TV is basically a propaganda machine for the current ruling government.


What country is that? Sounds like Poland. Funny thing is: in Poland you also have TV tax, but the majority isn’t paying, because the enforcement is not as effective as in Switzerland. So the money from the tax isn’t enough to keep TV and radio alive, so they rely on extra cash from the government anyway. And the boss of the TVP is nominated by the government anyway.

By the way: so it’s ok to have army and schools fully funded by the government, but somehow the TV is so sensitive, that it requires independent funding?

Btw, why does the funding only go to TV and radio? What about newspaper and web portals? Media is media, if it’s all about providing people with good quality media then the money should go to all media types. Any way you try to rationalize the TV tax, you always find loopholes in the logic.


You are already paying your city/village, the canton and the state their own taxes, it just gets collected together.

I do actually have to pay separately for dropping out of the military due to injury (the rightfulness of this is also somewhat debatable).

I think the SRG is supposed to be (or at least look) somewhat independent from the government. Witch may be why they collect it separately., it may just be because it was always done that way.

Are you just bothered by it being collected separately?


TV requires an independant funding, because the tax is by household not by taxpayer. I find that stupid, but it’s like this.


Yes because at the end we are paying also for this tax collecting “service” (Billag / Serafe)…


I reckon that has historical reasons, not so long ago, say 1980, really not everyone had a TV yet, and it was fair to exclude non-users.
So now finally, 40 years on, it’s an (almost) for everyone tax.
I totally disagree with it, but well, the majority decided, IMO especially the Italian and French Swiss, whose local media gets much more out of the pot on a per person basis, and who would have really struggled without a national solution.


This is not quite right - every household pays Fr 365.
Aside from the fact that people with a smartphone don’t really watch TV on it and now have to pay (=unfair), the other unfair thing is that a single pays twice the amount per person than a couple per person (living together) pays. It’s an unlogical unfairness. This is a reason why it should be settled via income tax or VAT or something.


I have a radical yet simple solution: let everyone choose with their money which medium they want to consume. It’s brilliant - I called it The Free Market. This way nobody will coerce anybody to pay for crap he or she doesn’t agrees with. I find it more moral this way, but also diverse and efficient, as you replace wasteful bureaucratic state monopoly with a huge array of various small providers. Plus, if any Canton will be missing a state crap TV, they’re free to have one!


We already had this vote less than a year ago and 71.6% of swiss voters were against your idea.


This is something i also really like.
however i do see that one problem with this approach with bublc media: The more money/ wealth you have, especially if it is from criminal sources, the more power you get to design the public debate/ opinion along your personal interests.

I don’t want to be dominated by the conservative far-right, only because they usually are more into big business than others.

So I do appreciate that there is a second player who is more independent from big business’ funding. And here I value this higher than other (valid) concerns against it.


In many countries it’s dominated by far right anyway because they’re in government. In Poland private TV are actually center-left and the state TV is far right. As far as I know left wing CNBC or New York Times are private and more popular than right wing Fox or (moderate right) Wall Street Journal. It’s the consumer demand that is shaping the options, not big business whims (besides how many far righters you have among top CEOs?). The plus side is that in the market there’s diverse niche for anyone, in state solutions it’s one size fits all forcing everybody to rullers’ or majority’s ideas.

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Funny comparison. Journalists are paid to think, soldiers are paid not to think. That’s why journalists are more dangerous to the MPs.

If you want to read, here’s why you benefit rom SRG even if you don’t watch TV:


I actually like your reasoning, makes me re-considering my ideas on it

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The answer is quite straight forward: public media should not be influenced by government therefore it is not financed via taxes.

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I don’t understand your answer. If public media is not financed by taxes then what is it financed by? What do you call the payment you make to billag or whatever it’s called now? It’s a tax alright.

And who decides how much you gonna pay? Who decides what they’re gonna show? Who elects the boss of public TV? The government. Maybe in Switzerland it’s different, but in Poland public media is government’s bi*ch.