Operational Subsidies

A lot is required to create and run a daily newspaper – journalists, facilities, printing, administration, sales, technical equipment and much more. Operational subsidies are part of the press subsidies and are aimed at those who run newspapers with paying subscribers, and may be both printed and digital. The subsidy should help you cover part of the costs of running the newspaper.

There are two forms of financial support that news media may apply for – press subsidies and media subsidies. These financial subsidies exist to promote a diversity of news media at both the national and local level, as well as to reinforce the presence of news media even in low-coverage areas of the country. The Media Subsidies Council decides which news media are to receive subsidies.

Two types of subsidies for the media

The two types of subsidies, press subsidies and media subsidies, are only available to general news media, but they are targeted at different types of news media in the sector. Press subsidies are entitlement subsidies, which means that if the newspaper meets all the criteria it will always receive subsidies, while media subsidies are granted on a means-tested basis. The requirements media outlets are to meet in order to receive subsidies are regulated in the Press Subsidies Ordinance and the Media Subsidies Ordinance.

Press Subsidies

Aimed at both printed and digital newspapers with paying subscribers. This could be your national or local morning paper, for example. There are two forms of subsidies within press subsidies – distribution subsidies and operational subsidies. To be eligible for press subsidies, the newspaper need to meet a number of criteria. One of the basic requirements for press subsidies is that the newspaper is regularly published, at least once a week, and has at least 1,500 paying subscribers.

Media Subsidies

Aimed at all general news media whose main purpose is to convey news. The content can be text, audio or moving images delivered via web-based media, printed newspapers, radio or television. Paid and free media are both eligible for media subsidies. Media subsidies may therefore be given to news media regardless of the form of publication or distribution. There are three types of media subsidies – Subsidies for Local Journalism, Innovation and Development Subsidies and Editorial Subsidies.

Criteria for receiving Operational Subsidies

Newspapers that meet the requirements of the Press Subsidies Ordinance are eligible for operating subsidies. Some of the basic requirements for receiving subsidies are:

  • It must be a general newspaper or publication of a daily press nature.
  • The newspaper may be printed or digital.
  • The newspaper must be published regularly, at least once a week.
  • The newspaper must have at least 1,500 paying subscribers (circulation).
  • The newspaper may have a maximum coverage of 30 per cent, i.e. a maximum of 30 per cent of households in the place of publication may subscribe to the newspaper
  • The operational subsidy may only cover a certain proportion of the newspaper’s costs and may only be used to cover costs linked with the newspaper for which the subsidy is granted. This must also be reported to the Council.