Australia – (E5) Affordable public and private news media

Score in short:

Media are readily affordable in Australia.

Score in detail:

In 2007-08, the average disposable household income was A$811 per week (ABS 2009a), or A$42,172 per year.

The affordability of newspapers is shown in the prices of the national and metropolitan daily newspapers in 2010 in Australian dollars. It should be mentioned that newspapers in Australia, although home delivered, are usually not bought at a special subscription rate.

Table 11. Newspaper prices in Australia in 2010

Newspaper National daily newspapers Weekday edition Saturday edition
The Australian 1.50 2.60
Financial Review Capital city daily newspapers 3.00 3.00
Adelaide Advertiser 1.10 1.80
The Age 1.50 2.50
Canberra Times 1.40 2.40
Courier Mail 1.10 2.00
Daily Telegraph 1.00 1.60
Herald Sun 1.10 1.50
Hobart Mercury 1.30 1.50
NT News 1.20 1.60
Sydney Morning Herald 1.40 2.40
The West Australian 1.30 2.30

Source: Isaacs 2010a, pp. 4-5.

Because Australia does not charge radio or television fees for the public broadcasters, as these are taken out of the general tax revenue, the only expenses are subscription television or Pay TV.

Table 12. Monthly pay television costs

Company Minimum subscription Maximum subscription Installation fee
Foxtel $72 $135 Free-$200
Austar $42 $124.45 Free
Optus Television $42 $116.95 $500
Neighbourhood Cable $19.95 $54.95 $99

All subscription television providers offer news channels, such as BBC, CNN and Sky News, in their minimum subscription packages. The subscription rate for broadband in Australia is between A$50 – A$60 a month. Taking these figures into account, it shows that the supply of a daily paper, plus a subscription to pay television and broadband, lies somewhere between 3 % – 5 % of the average weekly Australian income.