Innovation and Development Subsidies

The market for news media has changed extensively since the turn of the millennium, with consumption shifting from printed to digital media, being one such change. The aim of innovation and development subsidies is to help newspapers make the necessary adjustments to meet the new market conditions.

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.

What you may apply for

These subsidies are given for actions or feasibility studies for the development of editorial content in digital channels, innovations and developments in digital publishing or development of digital business models. Subsidies may be granted for initiatives lasting no more than 3 years and feasibility studies lasting no more than 1 year. The media outlet decide how much subsidies you want to apply for, but it must not exceed 40 per cent of the budget of the operation.

Innovation and development subsidies may be applied for in cooperation between several general news media. The partners may apply for subsidies individually or jointly, or designate one applicant to be responsible for the initiative.

Criteria for receiving Innovation and Development Subsidies

Your newspaper must meet a number of criteria in order to receive a subsidy. These are:

  • The medium must be a general news medium
  • The medium must meet basic requirements
  • The medium must promote the accessibility of its content
  • The medium must submit a technical report or a media subsidy certificate