Austria: Heute versus Österreich

vienna2009Two major free dailies are competing in Austria: all-free Heute (circulation 470,000) and free/paid Österreich (123,000 free copies and 110,000 paid ones).

The first official circulation audit meant a clear victory for Heute. Probably next month the first readership data from Medien Analyse will be available.

I picked both papers up Friday in Vienna to compare the contents. Österreich has a small tabloid format (34 * 26 cm) – Heute is even smaller: 30 * 22.5 cm.

Österreich counted 32 pages – with less than 6 pages ads, an 8 page color supplement (no ads) and an 8 page Money special (1 page ads). Not counted were ads for Österreich’s own services. Heute – 40 pages – contained 9 pages of ads. Both free dailies had two pages of “paid content” by the Austrian railways, included in the ads.

Magazine News (formerly owned by Österreich publisher Fellner) contained an interview with Heute publisher Eva Dichhand and WAZ-manager Christian Nienhaus. WAZ is 50% owner of Austria’s leading paid paper Kronen Zeitung, owned for the other 50% by Eva Dichands father-in-law Hans Dichand. Officially, however, there are no bonds between Heute and Kronen as WAZ has to give Dichand permission to participate in any other paper – a permission that is not given.

Although the relation between Hans Dichand (Kronen) and WAZ has been ‘cool’ to say the least – Nienhaus and Dichand’s daughter-in-law Eva seem to be on speaking terms, also because the Heute publisher showed no interest to attack Kronen in any way: “we are a takeaway product, nobody will end their subscription because they read Heute.” A video of the interview is on News.at.

Heute will introduce four Vienna regional editions for smaller advertisers once a month according to Eva Dichand.

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