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Austria – (F1) Geographic distribution of news media availability

Score in short:

A wide variety of news media is available to Austrian citizens. The distribution of news media, however, varies by media type.

Score in detail:

In total, 16 paid-for-dailies are available to Austrian citizens. All of them are morning dailies, seven of them national and nine regional. even though all national dailies are Vienna-based, they offer 15 regional editions and are broadly available in all areas (VÖZ/Statistik Austria 2009). furthermore, 223 non-daily newspapers are available (World Association of Newspapers 2009, p. 214). free dailies are still rather new in Austria (Heute, Österreich). They only play a significant role in urban areas. Because newspaper sales in Austria are mainly based on subscription (62 % compared to 6 % on single copy sales1), direct delivery networks have continuously been expanded both by regional and by national newspapers. Mediaprint dominates newspaper distribution nationwide.

In Austria, 98 % of all households are equipped with television. There are six terrestrial nationwide channels available to the Austrian population, in addition to 62 regional or local channels and ten regional or local program windows (european Audiovisual Observatory 2009, p. 13). In 2008, more than half of all television households were equipped with digital receivers (cable, satellite or terrestrial). The switchover to digital terrestrial broadcasting was completed in 2010 (RTR 2009a, p. 16). 50 % of television households are equipped with satellite receivers and 42 % with cable receivers. An average of 88 programs, 63 of them in German language, are available to Austrian television viewers (ORf Mediaresearch 2010). In terms of radio broadcasting, 84 channels are available to the Austrian population; 12 of them are part of the ORF public service network (either national or regional). Nevertheless, the availability of radio channels in Austrian provinces differs significantly, ranging from two channels in Burgenland to 14 channels in Styria and Tyrol (Statistik Austria/ Arbeitsgemeinschaft Media-Analysen 2009).

Despite the geographical barriers caused by Austria’s topography, Internet availability reached 79 % in 2008 (AIM/ORf Mediaresearch 2009). At the same time, 54.5 % of Austrian households were equipped with a broadband connection, either mobile or fixed (european Audiovisual Observatory 2009, p. 13). ORF launched its online platform ( in 2010. Mainly in-house productions are offered for free via live-stream and archive (in particular news, magazines, documentaries, sport news, minority content). furthermore, most radio programs are available as podcasts or web-radio. Private television channels provide similar services for their news programs, magazines and most popular docu-soaps.