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Austria – (E5) Affordable public and private news media

Score in short:

All news media are relatively cheap compared to the average income of an Austrian household.

Score in detail:

The GDP per capita in Austria is € 33,800, thus exceeding the average GDP per capita of the european union, which is € 25,100 (Statistik Austria 2010). The average disposable income of an Austrian household in 2008 was about € 33,985 (Statistik Austria 2009). The latest consumer statistics from 2004/05 show that an average household spent about € 2,540 per month; the average costs for radio and television license fees (including cable and satellite fees) were about € 19.4 per month, those for newspapers and news magazines € 18.8 per month; another € 67.0 were spent on communication devices (Statistik Austria 2008). This means that the average costs of mass media (print, radio, television, telecommunication) in Austria range between 0.7 % and 2.6 % of total household expenditures.

The copy price for a newspaper is between 75 cents (with annual subscription) and € 1.02 (direct sale) (World Association of Newspapers 2009, p. 215). Broadcasting reception equipment in Austria must be registered and is subject to a compulsory license fee established by law (Rundfunkgebührengesetz 2003, § 2). However, only part of the total amount of the license fee is given to the ORF, as some additional regional and national fees are deducted. The monthly fee ranges from € 18.61 (Vorarlberg) to € 23.71 (Styria); the average annual fee is about € 261.12 (GIS 2010). The broadcasting fee is lower if a household is only equipped with radio receivers. In addition, disabled people or low income households can apply for reduction or remission of the license fee.

Broadband connections are an increasing market, despite the already high level. Broadband is technically available in 96 % of all Austrian households, and 56 % of them already used broadband connection in 2008 (RTR 2009a, p. 171). Overall, Austrian households spent on average about € 28.2 on Internet connections in 2008; combined products including telephone, cable television and/or mobile devices with average costs of € 32.7 are becoming more popular (RTR 2009b, p. 15).

Table 9. Annual costs of different media

Mass media Average annual price % of average household income (2008)
Newspaper (subscription) € 273.5 0.81 %
Newspaper (direct sale) € 372.30 1.10 %
Radio (license fee) € 75.75 0.22 %
Television (license fee, including radio) € 261.12 0.77 %
Internet (only) Internet (in combination with cable, television € 338.40 1.00 %
and/or mobile devices) € 384.00 1.13 %

Sources: Newspapers: daily average, own calculations (World Association of Newspapers 2009, p. 215); Radio and Television: monthly, average of all nine regions, own calculations (GIS 2010); Internet: monthly average, own calculations (RTR 2009a, p. 15).