TV and radio

Roof of the main building of the Swiss public service broadcaster SRF in Leutschenbach, Zurich.
Headquarters of SRF, the public service broadcaster for German-speaking Switzerland, in Leutschenbach, Zurich. © Jürg-Peter Hug

In Switzerland, television is still the most popular source of information and entertainment. While the public service broadcaster has a market share of almost 30%, foreign programming draws a large proportion of viewers. The radio and television markets have been liberalised, over 90% of households can receive digital television, FM broadcasting and devices are being replaced by DAB+.

Virtually all Swiss homes have a television. Although television is still the most popular source of information and entertainment, viewer numbers in Switzerland's three major linguistic regions have hardly risen since the 1990s.

The television broadcasting infrastructure is operated by around 300 national and local networks. The public service television company SRG SSR has an audience share of almost 30% in German, French and Italian-speaking Switzerland. However French, German and Italian programmes broadcast by Switzerland's neighbours also draw a large share of audiences.

Radio: changing audience habits
Originally state-run, the television and radio sector has undergone successive liberalisation and privatisation since the 1980s. The public service broadcaster still occupies a 50% share of the radio market. Listener numbers have been in decline since 2001.  Around 90% of the Swiss population over the age of 15 listen to the radio every day. Average daily radio use increases with age.

The first radio cooperatives emerged in the mid-1920s, and in the early 1930s regional radio stations began broadcasting medium-wave programmes in German, French, Italian and Romansh. In the 1970s, a nationwide FM network was set up to replace the obsolete medium wave. DAB digital radio was introduced in 1999 and DAB+ has been available throughout Switzerland since 2015.