Free newspapers in Austria
Austria is one of the few European markets with a steady growth of free newspaper circulation. The two leading papers, Heute and Österreich, have been increasing circulation over the years.
Heute, started in 2004 with a circulation of 150,000, distributes now 575,000 copies in three editions, of which Vienna (385,000) is the largest.
Österreich has apart from a paid edition, also a free circulation of 325,000. In 2006 it started with 125,000 copies. Apart from that, local free daily TT Kompakt (a light version of the Tiroler Tageszeitung) is distributed in the Innbruck area.
Heute has always been in the middle of disputes. Mostly because of its unclear ownership structure, its dependence on government-related advertising and problems around editors. The new editor Christian Nusser started on the first of this month. The former editor Wolfgang Ainetter – formerly Bild Zeitung – had problems with publisher Eva Dichand.
Eva Dichand, in turn, is married to the editor-in-chief of Austria’s paid market leader Kronen Zeitung. Christian Nusser is coming from Österreich. This paper, in turn, is accused by Vienna officials to place illegal newspaper boxes in Vienna.
Österreich is at the same time taking Heute to the competition authorities for unfair competition because it has the exclusive right to distribute in the subway. Both papers – together with Kronen – are battling for the Vienna market.
War on every front, but with a total circulation of 900,000 reaching more than 30% of the total newspaper market.