Enhancing the diversity of media
Initiated by the Federal Chancellery, which is responsible for media affairs, two new funding schemes supporting a diverse broadcasting landscape in Austria have been established in 2009, based on an amendment of the Austrian Communications Authority (KommAustria) Law (BGBl. I Nr. 52/2009):
- Since 2009 commercial broadcasting can be financially supported by the “Commercial Broadcasting Fund” (USD 13,3 million (10 million euros) in 2011, USD 16,6 million (12,5 million euros) in 2012 and USD 20 million (15 million euros) in 2013).
- Likewise a new funding scheme for non-commercial private broadcasting has been introduced with the amendment of the KommAustria-Law 2009. The “Fund for the promotion of non-commercial private broadcasting” was endowed with USD 2,7 million (2 million euros) in 2011, USD 3,3 million (2.5 million euros) in 2012 and USD 4 million (3 million euros) in 2013).
Both funds strive to support the dual broadcasting system in Austria and a high-quality and diversified programme by private – commercial as well as non-commercial – broadcasters. The funds are administered by the RTR Company (Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications). Since the first funding requests were only approved in 2010, it’s too early to assess the impact of these new funding schemes, even though the introduction of the funds has been highly appreciated by private broadcasters, whose professional representations (Austrian Newspaper Association, Assoc. of Austrian Commercial Broadcasters and Austrian Community Radio Assoc.) were consulted in the elaboration of the funds. It should be noted that non-commercial private (radio as well as TV) broadcasters in particular foster access to production skills and broadcasting possibilities of else wise in media production marginalized social groups, such as ethnic minorities or persons with disabilities.