In the context of the Austrian creative industries, the books and press subsector (including publishing) is ranked third as regards employment, turnover and value-added indicators (see also chapter 3.5.1). In recent years, it has been considered as a relatively strong subsector economically. The subsector generates 18% of the turnover and 9% of the enterprises of the whole creative industry sector. But compared to the structure and sectoral distribution of the European creative industries, Austria has a relatively small books and press sector.
In 2004, a new Press Subsidy Act (Presseförderungsgesetz) came into force. In addition to distributing subsidies for daily and weekly newspapers and special subsidies for the preservation of diversity in regional daily newspapers, the Act also provides measures, such as support for the education of journalists and for research projects. Among other things, the Journalism Subsidy Act (Publizistikförderungsgesetz, 1984) sets out provisions to support periodicals if they deal with the topic of culture or related scientific disciplines. Since 2004, the Austrian Communications Authority (KommAustria) has been responsible for administering the press subsidies and subsidies under the Journalism Subsidy Act.
A characteristic of the media landscape in Austria is the high concentration in the field of the print media: in 1988 the leading dailies in Austria – Kronenzeitung (which reaches over 50% of Austrian households) and Kurier – merged to become the Mediaprint cartel. Due to another big merger in 2001, the situation has further intensified: one publishing group publishes the three leading political-economic news weeklies (News, Format, Profil; as well as Trend), media magazines (TV-Media and E-Media) and several lifestyle magazines. In September 2006, the News Group produced a new tabloid daily, Österreich, which became the second-biggest newspaper in the country. According to the Austrian country report of the Media Pluralism Monitor 2017, the growing market share of free daily newspapers has intensified the competition in the newspaper industry, causing a decline in the horizontal concentration of ownership.
The use of online media, in particular social networks, is increasing in Austria. More than 60% of people under 35 years of age use social media as one of their primary daily news sources, while TV and newspapers remain the main sources for people over 35 years old. Smartphones are used for news by more than the half of the Austrian population, as the Reuters Digital News Report 2020 points out.