Welcome to the Division Media Policy and Media Economics

What media economics means

In the Media Policy and Media Economics division, we are interested in how media earn their money, who pays for it and who owns it. This can be large corporations such as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation (including Fox News in the U.S.), Axel Springer in Germany (including Bild-Zeitung, Die Welt, or Dietrich Mateschitz (Red Bull Media House, Servus TV), or public broadcasters such as the BBC in the UK, ARD and ZDF in Germany or ORF, or small cooperatives or associations such as Okto TV in Vienna and Radiofabrik in Salzburg.


Most media and digital platforms (such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) generate the large majority of their revenue through advertising. The use of most platforms is free of charge for users. However, this means that these media are geared to the needs and requirements of advertisers. Not users. For several years now, more advertising money is flowing to platforms, and fewer to traditional news media. This can be observed throughout all of Europe. Newspapers therefore have to adapt their business model. News media help us to perceive and better understand the world around us. In elections and referendums, voters need a lot of background knowledge to make informed decisions. Those who only obtain superficial information do not comply with fundamental democracy principles. That’s why we care about the quality of the news. High quality is expensive and requires adequate funding. This brings us back to economics – see above.


Media and digital platforms need technology to provide their services. Television needs studios and broadcasting facilities, paper newspapers need printers and deliverers, and smartphones need mobile phone antennas that can be seen everywhere in large cities. We are interested in the rapid changes of Internet technologies and what special features, as well as advantages and disadvantages, technology brings.


Finally, we are also interested in rules and regulations that apply to media and platforms. These are regulations and laws, but also informal rules, for example in editorial offices. Those who understand these rules can explain how the media inform people and what influence this information has on democratic decisions.

At the Division of Media Policy and Media Economics, we compare the media and public communication in different countries. We observe the member states of the European Union, but also countries on all continents, such as the United States and Canada in North America, China, India, and Southeast Asian countries in Asia, countries north and south of the Sahara in Africa, the large and smaller countries in Central and South America, and finally Australia, New Zealand, and the small countries of Oceania.

Students from all regions of the world study with us in the Master’s program in English “Digital Communication Leadership”, which cooperates with partner universities from all over the world. The coordinator of this study program, Associate Professor Sergio Sparviero, is a staff member in our division.