Press: Street vending of the first uncensored papers in March 1848. Painting by J. N. Höfel (Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien).
Press, collective term for periodical publications. The Austrian press market is divided into newspapers (dailies and weeklies) and magazines (news magazines, illustrated magazines, light reading and technical journals). The majority of publishing houses are private, they operate on the income by sales (retail sale and subscriptions) and advertisements. - There are (1998) 17 daily newspapers, 2 commentated weekly newspapers ("Die Furche", "Präsent") and about 50 regional weeklies, of which some are published in local issues ("Neue Niederösterreichische Nachrichten"; "Oberösterreichische Rundschau"). Other weekly publications include the church periodicals of the Austrian dioceses and other local papers. In addition, there are about 2,500 magazines. The total circulation of the Austrian daily press amounts to (1998) 2.8 million copies per day, with the "Kronen-Zeitung" (about 1 million) being the most popular.
Austria has 4 different types of newspapers besides the only financial paper WirtschaftsBlatt: the popular to sensational tabloid press ("Kronen-Zeitung", "Kurier", "Täglich Alles"), the supra-regional, quality newspapers ("Die Presse", "Standard", the all-Austrian edition of the "Salzburger Nachrichten"), the provincial newspapers ("Kleine Zeitung", Graz and Klagenfurt; "Oberösterreichische Nachrichten", Linz; "Salzburger Nachrichten"; "Tiroler Tageszeitung", Innsbruck; and "Vorarlberger Nachrichten", Bregenz) and smaller secondary papers, of which some are publications of political parties ("Neue Zeit", Graz, social democratic, independent; "Kärntner Tageszeitung", Klagenfurt, SPÖ; "Neues Volksblatt", Linz, ÖVP; "Salzburger Volkszeitung", ÖVP; "Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung", Bregenz, independent). The larger provincial newspapers are in fierce competition with the provincial editions of the "Kronen-Zeitung". The smaller provincial papers, as well as "Die Presse" and "Der Standard" are supported by press subsidies.
The efficiency of the daily press and especially its performance concerning advertisements are subject to regular readership analyses (e.g. Media-Analyse, Österreichische Verbraucheranalyse) and the Österreichische Auflagenkontrolle (Austrian circulation control board, ÖAK).
The economic situation of the Austrian press market is characterized by large-scale publishing houses. "Kronen-Zeitung" and "Kurier" come out under the umbrella organisation of Mediaprint, although they are printed in different publishing houses, (together they command about 50 % of total circulation); the Verlagshaus Styria Medien AG in Graz owns "Kleine Zeitung" and "Die Presse" (together about 12 % of the total circulation) and the weekly "Die Furche". In addition, there are influential family businesses (in Linz, Salzburg, Bregenz) and foreign investors also play an important role.
The most successful magazines (except for the club magazines "auto touring" and "Freie Fahrt" published by the Austrian drivers´ clubs) include K. Falk´s entertainment weekly "Die ganze Woche" and the news magazine "News" published by the brothers Helmuth and Wolfgang Fellner. The influence of popular magazines from Germany on the Austrian magazine market, which peaked in the 1970s and 1980s, has decreased. However, they still dominate the fields of women´s and fashion magazines.
The most popular news and business magazines (along with "News": "profil", "trend", "Gewinn" and "Format" are all made in Austria. As regards illustrated magazines, the monthly "Wiener" clearly leads over foreign titles like "Bunte" and "Stern".
While daily newspapers have been in the lead among the classical advertising media (i.e. other than direct marketing) for many years, followed by television, (28.4 % of the total advertising expenses of ATS 20.2 billion in 1997; television: 22.8 %); magazines (15.6 %) rank before radio (8.9 %), weeklies (6.1 %) and posters (6.5 %).
The history of the Austrian press starts in the 17th century and can be divided into 5 stages: 1) the period of the state-controlled and censored press from 1621 until 1848; 2) the development of the modern press from 1848 until 1918; 3) the press of the First Republic (1919-1933), 4) the period of press control by the Corporate State and the Third Reich (1934-1945) and 5) the period of reconstruction and consolidation since 1945. Austria has rarely played a pioneering role in the development of the press - one exception being during the "golden era" of Austrian journalism (around 1870-1914) -, but it has contributed some special developments like the "Catholic Press Associations" (Katholische Preßvereine, Styria) and the small-format daily newspapers ("Kronen-Zeitung").
1) The first Austrian newspaper was the weekly "Ordinari Zeittungen", published by the Formica/Cosmerovius printers in Vienna from 1621 onwards. The same printers produced the "Ordentliche Postzeittungen" in 1622. The titles were changed several times and the former was discontinued in 1698, the latter in 1700. In the rest of Austria, the press only developed slowly and sparsely. There was usually one weekly in each of the provincial capitals, which was published officially or semi-officially: in Linz "Ordinari-Zeitungen" came out as early as 1630 and their tradition is carried on by the contemporary "Amtliche Linzer Zeitung". Graz has a printing licence of 1639 on record, but no copy of the paper has been preserved; there are also some records from Innsbruck from 1648 onwards. The first weekly in Bregenz was probably published between 1658 and 1680. Salzburg, where the first newspapers entitled "Wöchentliche Ordinari Post-Zeitungen" were published in 1669, occupied a special position as it was a sovereign territory until 1803; its provincial newspaper under Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo, called "Oberdeutsche Staatszeitung" (directed by Lorenz Hübner), pursued a fairly independent policy between Munich and Vienna. It remained the only newspaper of the province of Salzburg until 1848. In the period before the outbreak of the Revolution of 1848 the Austrian monarchy only had 19 political newspapers; 3 of them were published in Vienna, for instance, the semi-official "Österreichischer Beobachter" (since 1810) and the official "Wiener Zeitung", which had been founded as "Wienerisches Diarium" in 1703. All these newspapers were subject to strict preliminary censorship, which had been modernized with the establishment of the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund) (1815) and - under the pressure of Austria and Prussia - tightened again by the Karlsbader Beschlüsse in 1819.
2) When censorship was abolished on March 15, 1848, this did not yet mean that the freedom of the press was guaranteed, but it did provide for more rights for journalists than the temporary reduction of censorship by the "Grund-Regeln zur Bestimmung einer ordentlichen künftigen Bücher Censur" ("Principles to Define an Orderly Book Censorship"), which had been issued by Joseph II in 1781. In March 1848, the dimensions of the previous suppression became clear for the first time: In Vienna alone, about 300 periodicals were founded during the Revolution, including 86 daily newspapers. Besides the traditional newspapers, various other papers were called into existence in the capitals of the crown lands; and at least part of this great variety was preserved after the Revolution. In the middle of the Revolution (July 3, 1848) the daily "Die Presse" was founded: it was not really revolutionary in the political sense of the word but reformed journalistic practice and from then on set the standard for press modernisation.
Several varying press laws and regulations (1849, 1852, 1859, 1863) alternatively restricted and eased the situation for the media. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the prohibition of censorship were laid down in the Fundamental Laws in 1867 (Article 13). The obligation to obtain a licence for newspapers was abolished in 1863 and the special newspaper stamp duty ("Zeitungsstempel") was dropped at the end of the century (December 27, 1899).
By that time the Austrian press was flourishing. This positive development was promoted by an economic upswing and a revival of science and the arts (magazines), and especially by the foundation of new political parties. Alongside the Conservatives and Liberals, the Social Democrats and Christian Socialists gained political influence. In Vienna numerous local papers emerged side by side with the large-scale liberal newspapers and during the last decade of the 19th century the political parties also started to publish newspapers ("Arbeiterzeitung", "Reichspost"). In the capitals of the crown lands many newspapers were founded which, although they could not live up to the great variety of the rapidly expanding capital, definitely contributed greatly to the high standard of Austria´s press. Moreover, a large number of weeklies guaranteed that small towns and provincial regions were also supplied with the latest news. This development was strongly influenced by Catholic press associations, which had been founded in Austria in 1869 (e.g. Katholischer Preßverein of the Diocese of Graz-Seckau).Their purpose was to found and promote Catholic dailies and weeklies, publishing houses and bookshops. It is due to these press associations that Austria eventually became a country with great variety of newspapers; they were also responsible for another innovation which helped to promote newspapers in Austria: the cheap small-format daily newspaper. From the long-term perspective, the "Illustrierte Kronen-Zeitung" (Vienna 1900) and "Kleine Zeitung" (Graz 1904) had more impact on transforming the Austrian press than, for instance, the highly acclaimed Wiener Feuilleton.
3) Vienna´s press was gravely affected by World War I and its consequences because a considerable part of its educated readers now lived in the successor states of the monarchy, and the international character of Vienna´s newspapers was reduced by radical movements in many European states. However, during the First Republic newspapers in Vienna became more important than ever before. According to recent studies, there were 140 (partly short-lived) newspapers in Vienna between 1918 and 1934. They also included papers which spread National Socialist ideas and political anti-Semitism (e.g. "Deutschösterreichische Tageszeitung") and entrenched political positions were often reflected in the style of the newspapers.
4) After the Austrian parliament was inactivated (March 4, 1933), the government tried to strengthen its position by introducing measures which gave the state better control over the press: preliminary censorship was re-introduced in the form of the "obligation of presentation" in 1933, and papers that did not conform to the official policies, such as the "Arbeiterzeitung", were prohibited in 1934. A Press Chamber reflecting National Socialist thought was introduced in 1936. Independent newspapers and papers which openly supported the Fatherland Front were allowed to continue their work until Austria´s Anschluß to the German Reich, when National Socialist press control was introduced and the last vestiges of freedom of the press were done away with. From June 1938 onwards the German Reichskulturkammer law (compulsory membership in the Reichspress chamber) and the Law on Press Editorship also applied to Austria.
The number of newspapers in Vienna was reduced from 16 to 9 (1940) and Jewish journalists were eliminated. Instead, the Vienna issue of the "Völkischer Beobachter" (March 16, 1938 - April 6, 1945) came onto the scene.
The National Socialists usually took over one newspaper in each of the provincial capitals and used it as the official Gau newspaper and thus an NSDAP mouthpiece. The remaining bourgeois or press association newspapers were brought into line or forced to merge with the respective Gau newspaper during the Second World War.
5) The end of the Second World War completely changed Austria´s press landscape. The re-education and media policies of the 4 occupying powers were quite different from each other, but they had 3 common features: All newspapers and magazines had to discontinue their publications in April/May 1945; each of the occupying powers founded at least one newspaper (in Vienna): "Österreichische Zeitung" (Soviet), "Wiener Kurier" (American), "Weltpresse" (British) and "Welt am Abend" (French); new Austrian newspapers and magazines required a special licence, which was issued by the respective occupying power. While in the Soviet and British occupied zones in Vienna only party newspapers ("Arbeiterzeitung", "Das Kleine Volksblatt", "Volksstimme") were given a licence (with the exception of "Neues Österreich" a non-party paper); the Americans (and later also the French) initially intended to limit licensing to independent newspapers, which developed out of the newspapers already established by the occupying forces ("Salzburger Nachrichten", "Oberösterreichische Nachrichten", "Tiroler Tageszeitung"; and "Vorarlberger Nachrichten"). However, when the first licences were issued in October 1945, the US and French occupying forces decided to also licence newspapers of political parties; by that time, however, it had become almost impossible for these papers to catch up with the independent press.
The development of the Austrian daily press from the end of World War II until 1998 is characterised by 4 major trends: the concentration of Newspapers and at the same time an increase in total circulation; the decline of the party press (from 60 % of the total circulation in 1954 to 2.2 % in 1998); the concentration of high-circulation tabloids ("Kronen-Zeitung", "Kurier" and "Täglich Alles", together 65 %) and the shifting of relative importance from Vienna to the provinces: total circulation in the provinces compared with Vienna increased from 1928 to 1994 from a ratio of 1 : 4.3 to a ratio of 1 : 2.4.
The press law of 1922 was replaced by the Federal Law on the Press and Other Journalistic Media, effective as of June 12, 1981, which was extensively amended on July 1, 1993 in order to strengthen the legal protection of personal rights. The amendment of the antitrust law effective as of September 24, 1993, changed the media landscape in that mergers of media companies of all kinds were made more difficult by special turnover limits. This measure is intended to impede the further concentration of newspapers.
Literature: K. Paupié, Handbuch der österreichischen Presse-Geschichte 1848-1959, 2 vols., 1960-1966; F. Ivan et al. (eds.), 200 Jahre Tageszeitung in Österreich 1783-1983, 1983; H. Pürer et al. (eds.), Die österreichische Tagespresse, 1983; P. Muzik, Die Zeitungsmacher, 1984; W. Berka, Das Recht der Massenmedien, 1989; H. Pürer, Presse in Österreich, 1990; G. Melischek, J. Seethaler, Die Wiener Tageszeitungen. Eine Dokumentation. vol. 3: 1918-1938, 1992; P. Pelinka et al. (eds.), Zeitungs-Los, 1992; P. A. Bruck (ed.), Print unter Druck, 1993; F. Hausjell, Journalisten für das Reich, 1993; Institut für Publizistik und Kommunikationswissenschaften der Universität Salzburg (ed.), Massenmedien in Österreich (= Medienberichte 1-4), 1977, 1983, 1986, 1993; V. Ö. Z. (ed.), Pressehandbuch 1998 (1998 = No. 46); S. P. Scheichl and W. Duckkowitsch, Zeitungen im Wr. Fin de Siècle, 1997; E. Geretschberger, Massenmedien in Österreich, 1998.
References to other albums: