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Superstars and the long tail: The impact of technology on market structure in media industries

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  • Weeds, Helen

Abstract

Technological change has transformed creative media industries. Digitization lowers the costs of recording, storage, reproduction and distribution, while computer-based editing facilitates quality enhancement and special effects. Digital technology has altered the distribution of sales in ways that remain poorly understood: while some commentators have highlighted the growth of the “long tail”, others find digitization has raised the importance of “superstars”. This paper develops a theoretical model of differentiated goods with endogenous quality to investigate the impact of digitization on the distribution of firms. It finds that supply-side factors can generate superstars and long tail outcomes, and that coexistence of both phenomena can be explained by either a fall in fixed costs for basic products or a decline in market size.

Suggested Citation

  • Weeds, Helen, 2012. "Superstars and the long tail: The impact of technology on market structure in media industries," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 60-68.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:24:y:2012:i:1:p:60-68
    DOI: 10.1016/j.infoecopol.2012.01.008
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    Cited by:

    1. Anderson, Simon P. & Jullien, Bruno, 2016. "The advertising-financed business model in two-sided media markets," TSE Working Papers 16-632, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Digital media; Creative industries; Superstars; Long tail;

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

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