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Population: 9.1 million
Internet penetration: 88%

The Austrian news market is characterised by a strong public broadcaster (ORF), commercial broadcasters, and a wide range of national and local newspapers, which are adapting to digital challenges at varying speeds. Public subsidies, including advertising spending by public institutions, play an important role in the viability of some news organisations, but also exacerbate the tensions between commercial and public service providers.

The ORF, Austria's public service and largest media organisation, has undergone significant changes following the enactment of the new ORF Act in July. One major change is the move from device-based financing to a household fee system. The fee collected by the ORF from each household is approximately 20% lower, but the base should expand by approximately 400,000 households. This adjustment not only addresses a ruling from the Constitutional Court (VfGH) mandating a new financing mechanism but also seeks to mitigate concerns from other quality news media regarding ORF's perceived unfair advantage in digital audience competition spurred by public funding.

Consequently, ORF’s website has revamped its content structure, with text contributions capped at 350 per week and limited to 30% against 70% video content. Additionally, ORF Director General Weißmann has initiated cost-cutting measures to save approximately 10% over three years or €300m by 2026. Two specialised portals – for classical music and films/series – have been closed. The newly rebranded ‘ORF On’ on-demand streaming platform was launched to replace ORF TVthek, which is closing down as a result. Despite these changes, the Zeit im Bild (ZiB) news programme has achieved significant milestones by surpassing 1 million followers on Instagram and half a million on TikTok.

Data from the Austrian Audit Bureau of Circulations (ÖAK), shows that sales of daily newspapers continue to decline, despite a modest rise in sales of e-papers. Against this challenging background, some Austrian news organisations continued to adapt and innovate. For example, the editorial teams of the free newspaper Heute and the online platform have been merged, and both Heute and the platform have begun delivering features such as a Morning Briefing and news updates and overviews via WhatsApp.

Russmedia, the publisher of the regional newspaper Vorarlberger Nachrichten, is working with OpenAI to equip its employees with a digital assistant which it hopes will free up journalists to do more research and enable the development of more targeted advertising. As part of the Google News Initiative, the Austria Press Agency (APA) has been developing new projects with the internet giant. These projects include APA Signals, a monitoring tool tailored to assist editorial teams in managing the deluge of information and efficiently categorising content and sources, and Datenpunkt Klima, focused on improving coverage of climate-related topics.

The decision to close the print edition of the Wiener Zeitung, recognised as the world's oldest continuously published daily newspaper, from June 2023, and move online with a reduced editorial team, met with mixed reactions. This transition was prompted by government legislation removing the obligation on companies to publish corporate announcements in the paper. The government then committed to giving €13.5m per annum to Wiener Zeitung GmbH., of which €7.5m was for editorial while €6m was directed to Media Hub Austria for practical journalism training. Following the closure of the print edition, a group of former Wiener Zeitung journalists created Das Feuilleton, a new monthly printed newspaper, which thanks to successful crowdfunding, started publication on 1 December 2023. The newspaper Kurier has announced plans to lay off up to 20% of its staff.

An analysis of 103 Austrian-produced podcasts covering 1,074 hours of audio material in the first half of 2023 from media analysts APA-Comm reveals that politics and economics dominate the content, with 26% of episodes focused on political events and 22% on the economy and finance. In 2022, the federal government collected €96m through the digital tax, introduced in 2020, which targets internet advertising services not already covered by a pre-existing tax. The proceeds contribute to the Fund for the Promotion of Digital Transformation, endowed with €20m annually. In 2023, the digital tax generated €103m and the Austrian Regulatory Authority RTR has allocated all of that to support 115 projects.

ProSiebenSat.1Puls4 Group introduced the streaming platform Joyn, to bolster the domestic media landscape against international platforms. Meanwhile, the Czech billionaire Renáta Kellnerová increased her stake in ProSiebenSat.1, reaching around 15%, while the German broadcasting group under new CEO Bert Habets is pursuing closer collaboration with major shareholder MediaForEurope (MFE) owned by the Berlusconi family, in advertising, technology, and content.

Sergio Sparviero and Josef Trappel, with additional research by Stefan Gadringer and Alessandra Colaceci
University of Salzburg

Changing media

Austrians still have one of highest rates of daily newspaper readership in the world but the proportion accessing weekly has halved since 2015. TV audiences are down overall, particularly with younger people.

Pay for online news


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Trust in news overall



The percentage of respondents who expressed trust in the news fell to just below 35%, the lowest level recorded for the Austrian market since its inclusion in the report in 2015. Trust has fallen by 11 percentage points since its high point reported in 2021, at the height the COVID-19 pandemic.

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 74.69

Measure of press freedom from NGO Reporters Without Borders based on expert assessment. More at

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