The association of Swiss newspaper publishers says about a third of the newspaper titles will be forced to close over the next few years if the sector doesn’t receive additional financial support from the state.
The warning was made by the association president Pietro Supino at a meeting in Zurich on Wednesday.
“We urgently need more indirect subsidies for the private print media sector to compensate for the high distribution costs and ensure a public service. Newspapers are still the backbone of democratic opinion shaping in a federalist country,” said Supino who is also chairman of the board of the leading Tamedia publishing group.
The association external linkhas called for an additional CHF90 million ($91 million) annually to help fund the newspaper delivery. The government proposed an additional CHF20 million to complement the current CHF30 million per year.
Parliament is due to discuss the legal basis for a reform later this year.
The association represents about 270 private print titles mainly in the German, but also in French, Italian and Romansh-speaking parts of the country.
In his keynote address, Supino said the digitalisation was the main commercial challenge for the coming decade as online subscriptions created less revenue than for printed editions.
In another development, the Ringier media group has announced it will rejoin the association nearly five years after a row with other Swiss publishing companies over a joint advertising and marketing strategy.
Ringier says it is crucial to join forces against multinational information technology giants, including Google, Facebook and Amazon.