ORF market share keeps dwindling

The number of people tuning in for national broadcaster ORF’s programmes keeps declining.

The company announced yesterday (Mon) that ORF 1 achieved a market share of 12 per cent last month, up by 0.5 per cent compared to September 2010. ORF 2 suffered a decline of 1.3 per cent at the same time, the broadcaster added.

The state-funded station explained that the overall national market share of all of its TV programmes slumped by 0.8 per cent from September 2010 to the same month of this year when the channels – including TW1 – reached 36.5 per cent. It claimed a share of 43.3 per cent in 2007.

ORF achieved a domestic market share of nearly 50 per cent in the late 1990s when it screened just ORF 1 and ORF 2, according to the Kurier newspaper. The daily reports that the new figures mean a market share decline of 1.3 per cent from the first three quarters of 2010 to the same period of the current year.

ORF officials argued the economic environment was becoming increasingly rough due to the fast digitalisation. According to the station, 70 per cent of Austrian households had digital TV facilities last month. ORF stressed this was an increase of four per cent compared to September of the previous year. Digital television access allows consumers to choose between hundreds of international channels.

“Zeit im Bild”, ORF’s most prestigious news programme was the most popular programme once again last month. The show is broadcast by ORF 2 at 7.30pm everyday. Regional news and features programme “Bundesland heute” and lonely hearts series “Liebesg’schichten und Heiratssachen” were among the station’s top programmes as well. Other highlights as far as viewer figures are concerned were the national football team’s goalless draw against Turkey, quiz show “Die Millionenshow” and crimes series “SoKo Donau”.

ATV, Austria’s strongest private broadcaster, managed to keep its market share stable at 5.4 per cent compared to September 2010. However, the Viennese firm managed to attract more people aged between 12 and 29. “Bauer sucht Frau” – ATV’s version of global reality TV hit “Farmer Wants a Wife – was its most successful programme last month.

Puls 4, formerly named Puls TV, had a market share among households with satellite and cable TV access of 3.5 per cent in the key viewers group of people aged between 12 and 49.

ORF has been headed by Andreas Wrabetz since 2006. He is close to the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) which forms a government coalition with the People’s Party (ÖVP). Wrabetz was confirmed in office last August. The broadcaster hopes to see an improvement as far as its market share is regarded soon, also thanks to the launch of ORF III, a new channel focusing on culture programmes, concerts and documentaries. ATV owner Herbert Kloiber reacted to the news that ORF III is set to start on National Day (26 October) by announcing that ATV2 would go on air on 1 December. Movies, series, news and weather programmes will be broadcast on the channel, the German film industry businessman said last month.