Mr. Weißmann, major reforms are imminent at ORF. You have announced a savings target of 300 million euros by 2026. After that, it should be determined by the political side how and how much money is raised for financing. And then there are decisions about tasks and goals, keyword digital amendment. Wouldn't the order make more sense the other way around?
Political correspondent based in Vienna.
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This is the image that has emerged in the public. In fact, these are different processes that take place in parallel.
Then let's talk about the savings first.
ORF has a financing period from 2022 to 2026. A difficult economic situation has arisen for which we are not responsible. The fixing of the fees was calculated in autumn 2021, when it was not foreseeable that inflation and energy prices would rise so sharply and there would be a war in Europe. ORF is an economically healthy company, and we will repair this situation on our own.
And at the same time, a new fee model is to come.
These are different strands. The previous management turned to the Constitutional Court to ensure that the streaming services, which are used by more and more people, are also subject to a fee. The Supreme Court agreed to this in the middle of last year. Of course, that's good for ORF. At the same time, the Constitutional Court has given the mandate to sustainably finance ORF.
You announced last autumn that ORF would have to compensate for a loss of several hundred million euros due to the various factors. In other words, the savings are cuts to make do with the budget – or will that be added to that?
No, these were the figures that we had already forecast at the time as part of our financial perspective – cumulating 300 million euros by 2026. This is a financing path that we had to present in the discussion with the legislator. These are difficult times for all people and all companies. Public service broadcasters are under discussion throughout Europe. Nobody likes to save, but it is inevitable. Whereby the ORF always had to save. In the past 30 years, we have never been compensated for full inflation and have cut around 2007,1000 employees since 450, which is around one fifth. Over the past five years, we have cumulatively saved 300 million in costs. And so we will be able to save another <> million over the next four years.
How do you intend to bring the volume together?
This is an ongoing process and a package of measures. The ORF has agreed on one of the most favorable salary agreements in Austria, 2.1 percent, which is of course a great challenge for the workforce. Around 500 employees will retire in the coming years, so we will only be able to fill vacancies very restrictively, and if so, then cheaper. In addition to personnel measures, material cost reductions will also affect our suppliers. We have already embarked on this path.
You haven't even mentioned the Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSO) and the popular sports channel ORF Sport +. When you mentioned these cuts two weeks ago, there were immediately fierce protests. Now 1000 artists and cultural workers demand in an appeal that "art and culture in and for the ORF" must be "guaranteed". Does this come as a surprise to you?