Pubcaster opens wallet despite budget cutbacks

ZURICH — Pubcaster SF DRS is, once again, the only player in town.

TV3, Switzerland’s first full-service private web that launched in September 1999, and Tele 24, a private Swiss news channel, shuttered at the end of 2001.

The nets failed to reach the 10% threshold they had hoped to attain and were consistently pummeled by SF DRS, which snags around a 40% market share in primetime.

Its closest rivals were actually the German private webs ProSieben, RTL and SAT 1 as well as Teutonic pubcasters ARD and ZDF.

In 2001, the SF DRS annual budget was trimmed 5%, forcing program director Peter Schellenberg to cut costs severely. Although that means less local programming, the pubcaster’s budget for acquisitions has not been reduced.

And as for reality fare such as “Big Brother” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” which were popular on the defunct TV3, Schellenberg says he is holding the line: “We will not add reality shows to our channel.”

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