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What is the new ORF TV licence fee every household in Austria will have to pay?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
What is the new ORF TV licence fee every household in Austria will have to pay?
Pictured is a television (Photo by Nicolas J Leclercq on Unsplash)

Instead of a GIS fee only for those with a TV or radio set, every household in Austria will have to pay a fee to fund public broadcaster ORF - which will also have to follow new rules for its journalism production. Here's what you need to know.


Austria's publicly-funded broadcaster will receive €710 million a year from household contributions from next year, according to an announcement made by Media Minister Susanne Raab on Wednesday.

But what does that mean for people in Austria? From 2024, instead of the so-called "GIS fee", which only homes with a television set and/or radio device had to pay, every household in Austria will need to pay €15.30 for the ORF fee. This amount will be increased by province-level taxes, except in Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Vorarlberg, where regional governments said they would waive the tax. 

Salzburg is also considering the possibility of waiving the fee.

How much will I have to pay?

Prices will vary depending on the province, but they'll be substantially lower than the previous GIS fee - though you won't be able to opt out of it if you only access content online, for example. 

Here's how much you will have to pay in the future with added provincial fees (the three states that said they would waive taxes have been accounted for). 

What else is changing?

With the new "ORF Act", many changes besides funding will take place in the public broadcaster. 

According to Minister Raab, those include ending the seven-day restriction on online access to video and audio content. From 2024 on, current reports on politics, culture and sports will be available online for 30 days - and stores on history, children's and sports programmes (outside of premium content) could be available for an unlimited period on the ORF TVThek.

ORF will also be allowed to produce audio and content exclusively for online channels, and on, the ratio will be 70 percent video and 30 percent text content. Additionally, the number of written reports on the website will be reduced to 350 per week, according to a Der Standard report. 

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Other regulations include allowing ORF to have a children's streaming service - but still blocking the public broadcaster from operating its own YouTube channels. 


There are also several online and radio advertising restrictions, which should result in around €25 million to €30 million less advertising revenue for the company. In addition, transparency rules state that ORF will have to publish salaries and any "lateral activities and earnings" annually. Additionally, wages should be posted by name for incomes above €170,000 a year (gross).

Why are there so many restrictions?

Most restrictions on content were demands by private media companies, which asked for a "fair" environment for media, claiming that competing with a publicly-funded source would be unfair.

Private media companies argue that the dominance of hinders or prevents the success of paid offerings. 


Despite the restrictions, they criticised the amendment that allows ORF to produce video and audio exclusively for the web.

As before, ORF will be by far the largest media group in Austria, with €710 million per year in mandatory user contributions in the future. With advertising revenues, ORF has around € 1 billion in annual revenues. At best, the largest private newspaper groups generate around €400 million a year.


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