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Concentration and self-censorship in commercial media

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Abstract

Within a simple model of non-localized, Hotelling-type competition among arbitrary numbers of media outlets we characterize quality and content of media under different ownership structures. Assuming advertising-sponsored, profit-maximizing outlets, we show that (i) topics sensitive to advertisers can be underreported (self-censored) by all outlets in the market, (ii) self-censorship increases with the concentration of ownership, (iii) adding outlets, while keeping the number of owners fixed, may even increase self-censorship; the latter result relies on consumers' most preferred outlets being potentially owned by the same media companies. We argue that externalities resulting from self-censorship could be empirically large.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1256.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1256

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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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Keywords: Media economics; media consolidation; media markets; advertising and commercial media bias.;

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  1. Marco Gambaro and Riccardo Puglisi, 2010. "What Do Ads Buy? Daily Coverage of Listed Companies on the Italian Press," RSCAS Working Papers 2010/26, European University Institute.
  2. Lisa George & Joel Waldfogel, 2003. "Who Affects Whom in Daily Newspaper Markets?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 765-784, August.
  3. Bart J. Bronnenberg & Jean-Pierre H. Dube & Matthew Gentzkow, 2010. "The Evolution of Brand Preferences: Evidence from Consumer Migration," NBER Working Papers 16267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Michael H. Riordan & Yongmin Chen, 2005. "Price and Variety in the Spokes Model," Discussion Papers 0405-20, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  5. Matthew Ellman & Fabrizio Germano, 2009. "What do the Papers Sell? A Model of Advertising and Media Bias," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 680-704, 04.
  6. Caroline Elliott, 2001. "A Cointegration Analysis of Advertising and Sales Data," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 417-426, June.
  7. A. Blasco & P. Pin & F. Sobbrio, 2011. "Paying Positive to Go Negative: Advertisers' Competition and Media Reports," Working Papers wp772, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  8. Jonathan Reuter & Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Do ADS Influence Editors? Advertising and Bias in the Financial Media," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 197-227, 02.
  9. De Smet, Dries & Vanormelingen, Stijn, 2012. "The Advertiser is Mentioned Twice. Media Bias in Belgian Newspapers," Working Papers 2012/05, Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Faculteit Economie en Management.
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Cited by:
  1. Fabrizio Germano, 2008. "On commercial media bias," Economics Working Papers 1133, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 2009.
  2. Larbi Alaoui & Fabrizio Germano, 2012. "Time scarcity and the market for news," Economics Working Papers 1348, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2013.
  3. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2014. "Special Interests and the Media: Theory and an Application to Climate Change," NBER Working Papers 19807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Francesco Sobbrio, 2012. "A Citizen-Editors Model of News Media," RSCAS Working Papers 2012/61, European University Institute.
  5. A. Blasco & F. Sobbrio, 2011. "Competition and Commercial Media Bias," Working Papers wp767, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  6. Rudiger, Jesper, 2013. "Cross-Checking the Media," MPRA Paper 51786, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. A. Blasco & P. Pin & F. Sobbrio, 2011. "Paying Positive to Go Negative: Advertisers' Competition and Media Reports," Working Papers wp772, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

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