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Austria – (F2) Patterns of news media use (consumption of news)

Score in short:

Newspapers and public service television are the main sources of information concerning political issues. Among the younger population, the importance of the Internet is increasing. The reach, however, is limited.

Score in detail:

Table 1. Average daily reach of different media types (2008)

Media type Reach (total) Daily reach (%) Availability Average use (min/day)
Newspapers 5,117,000 72.9 % 100.0 % 30
Television 4,335,000 63.4 % 98.0 % 156
Radio 5,764,000 82.1 % 98.0 % 203
Internet 2,926,000 41.7 % 79.0 % 50

Sources: TV: Teletest 2008; Radio: Radiotest 2008; Internet: ÖWA IV-2008/AIM; Newspapers: ÖAK, all data for population 14+ (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Media-Analysen 2008; RTR 2009a, p. 123)

According to recent studies, a quarter of all Austrians is very interested in political and economic issues (Stark 2009, p. 147). The general interest in political and economic issues varies according to gender and age. Newspapers are still most important; the relevance of television is increasing in the older age brackets, while the Internet as a source of information is of great importance among younger people. Despite the small number of newspaper titles available to the Austrian population, readership remains relatively high, although it is declining (Stark 2009, p. 138). In fact, 72.9 % of all Austrians read newspapers every day for about 30 minutes (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Media-Analysen 2008, p. 67). The main variations in patterns of media use can be seen as a function of age, education and socio-economic status (Stark 2009, p. 140). The daily newspaper with the highest distribution – Kronen Zeitung – reaches 41.9 % of the Austrian population. Its position is weaker among the younger population (14-19 years: 34.6 %; 20-29 years: 38.9 %) though it is still unrivaled. An exceptional case is the quality newspaper Der Standard, which reaches in total 5.5 % of the population; among the younger population (14-29 years) this percentage is up to 7.0 %.

In Austria, 82.1 % listen to radio programs every day for about 203 minutes (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Media-Analysen 2008, p. 101). However, news content is not the most appealing radio content. The main news format Mittagsjournal (Ö1; total reach about 9.2 %) is listened to by 3 % of the population. Nevertheless, short newsflashes every full hour are frequent on all radio channels.

Austrians watch television approximately 156 minutes a day; 63.4 % daily. Television use increases with age; it is lowest among the 12- to 29-year-olds, who only watch approximately 90 minutes a day (RTR 2009a, p. 119). According to a recent study, public service broadcasting is a significant source of information for 76 % of Austrians. Half of the respondents think that newspapers are an important source of information, as well. Other media types (private television, Internet, radio) are seen as a relevant source of information only by 30 % (Stark & Karmasin 2009, p. 368). The main news format broadcasted on the ORF 2Zeit im Bild – reaches more than one million Austrians and has a market share of over 40 %. Nevertheless, this is only a total reach of 14.6 % of the population. looking at the younger age group (12-29 years), it must be stressed that the percentage of viewers is lower, reaching only 2.2 % of the young population. The late evening news format Zeit im Bild 2 reaches about half a million Austrians (7.1 % of the total population; 1.2 % among the younger population).

Table 2. Reach of selected news programs (2008)

News program

Total population
Young population (< 29)

Reach%* Reach%*
Zeit im Bild (ORF)Main evening news (19:30), daily 1,024,000 14.6 **39,000 2.2
Zeit im Bild 2 (ORF)Late evening news (22:00), weekdays only5007.1**21,000 1.2
Kronen Zeitung
Newspaper with highest reach
Der Standard
Quality newspaper
Die Presse Quality newspaper 2413.4 ***15,000

Mittagsjournal (Ö1)
Main radio news, 12:00, approx. 1 hour,
Monday to Saturday
Online media with highest reach
9.6 17.3

*Daily users in percent of population (TV, newspapers, radio), user in fourth quarter 2008 in percent of population (Internet), **Population 12-29, ***Population 14-19, ****Population 20-29.

Source: Television: population 12+ (ORF-Mediaresearch/Teletest), Radio: population 10+, based on quarters/hour (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Media-Analysen 2008, pp. 100-103), Online/Print: population 14+ (Arbeitsgemeinschaft MediaAnalysen 2008, p. 86; ÖWA 2008).

Even though 72 % of all Austrians use the Internet on a regular basis, only 41.7 % use it every day for about 50 minutes (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Media-Analysen 2008, p. 137). The Internet’s importance as an information source varies by age. Public service television is the main source for gathering information in all age groups, even for 66 % of all respondents between 14 and 29 years. Nevertheless, private television and Internet are important news sources for about 40 % of all respondents in the younger age bracket (Stark & Karmasin 2009, pp. 367-370). This illustrates that crossmedia use is common in Austria and that media use patterns are currently changing rapidly. Austrians in the age range 14 to 29 years concentrate on the Internet as their main source of information on political and economic issues (Stark 2009, p. 150). The online newspaper with the highest reach – the quality orientated – reached 740,000 readers online from October to December 2008, which means a total reach of 15.0 % of the Austrian population. In the younger age group (20-29 years), it is even 17.3 %.