Austria – a thin line between paid and free

Free/paid Austrian daily Österreich operates with an aggressive marketing strategy whereby people get incentives (iPods, coffee machines, €100 cash) when they subscribe to the paper (see previous post).

One of the most wanted presents is a free highway voucher (Autobahn-Vignette), something Austrians need for the Autobahn. Österreich handed out vouchers with a value of €1.5 million without paying Asfinag, the government organization that issues the vouchers. In total Österreich bought €7.7 million worth of stickers from Asfinag.

Österreich defends itself in Der Standard by saying that Asfinag has unpaid advertising bills and that subscribers have not paid yet.

This last answer suggests that you can subscribe to Österreich, receive the voucher, but refuse to pay your subscription, which makes Österreich not only free to paid subscribers but also giving them a free Autobahn-Vignette (€74 for one year).

Not all is free in Austria, however. Free Sunday paper Rundschau am Sonntag recently ended the free distribution because of dropped advertising revenues as a result of the recession. From now on readers ‘are asked’ to pay 50 cents for a paper.

Yes ‘asked’, because these papers are distributed in bags in public places where the public ‘can’ put money in box. How many people actually do that is the big secret in Austria (see previous post) but the common name for these bags is Klaubeutel (grab-bag) which indicate that only part of the readers actually pay.

Rundschau am Sonntag has a circulation of 320,000 and although the editor says the public reacts ‘positive’ to the move (Der Standard), he fails to say how many of the readers put 50 cent in the box.

3 Responses to “Austria – a thin line between paid and free”

  1. Beta Alfa » Blog Archive » Noterat 2009-08-09 Says:

    [...] Austria – a thin line between paid and free- Hittat via Jardenberg. Affärsutveckling i den österrikiska tidningsbranschen. [...]

  2. Shared Items – August 9, 2009 | disruptive by nature Says:

    [...] Austria – a thin line between paid and free [...]

  3. jardenberg kommenterar – 2009-08-09 — jardenberg unedited Says:

    [...] Austria – a thin line between paid and free [...]