Winterthur-based Init7 recently started charging extra for replay TV. Other providers are set to follow, according to 20 Minutes.
Until recently, replay TV, which allows viewers to record shows and watch them at a time of their choosing, was included at no extra charge to subscribers. The problem with replay TV is that it allows viewers to fast forward through adverts, something that is costing broadcasters money. To recoup the lost advertising revenue, broadcasters are pushing higher charges on to the network companies selling TV packages. This appears to have triggered an industry-wide shift towards charging advert-skippers for the privilege of fast forwarding through advertising.
Init7 recently started charging an extra CHF 11 per month, according to the newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. Quickline and Salt told the newspaper that they were also considering charging extra for the replay option. Swisscom and Sunrise UPC, Switzerland’s largest providers were less forthcoming about their plans. “For the time being nothing will change for our customers,” said a Swisscom representative. Sunrise responded by saying that there will be different offers.
Init7 boss Fredy Künzler told Tages-Anzeiger that the payments his company has to make to broadcasters associated with replay TV used to be CHF 2 per user per month. At the beginning of the year this fee jumped to CHF 7 and is set to rise to CHF 8 in 2026.
The industry-wide agreement between network providers and television broadcasters is set to change in April or May 2022.
Künzler said that he is looking at work arounds. One option is to offer a replay option that prevents users from fast forwarding through advertising.
However, in the end, broadcasters may find that charging for replay TV or forcing people to watch adverts does them more harm than good. With so many alternatives to regular television on offer, viewers may tune out or log off completely. If this happens the sector could end up losing more revenue from customer attrition than it gains from additional fees.