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Does New Information Technology Lower Media Quality? The Paradox of Commercial Public Goods

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  • Man-Lui Lau
  • Bruce Wydick

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Abstract

We define commercial public goods as goods that are broadcast via television, radio, newsprint, or websites for which consumption is non-rival and non-exclusive, and revenue is generated mainly through advertising alongside a product in a two-sided market. With new information technology the fixed cost of entry in these markets has substantially declined. We demonstrate that as fixed costs of entry decline in a competitive media market, lower industry concentration results in lower resources to each firm for the production of commercial public goods. The counterintuitive result of new information technology is that it may result in lower quality news reporting and a less-informed population. The result may hold even when consumers exhibit preferences for diversity in media outlets. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Man-Lui Lau & Bruce Wydick, 2014. "Does New Information Technology Lower Media Quality? The Paradox of Commercial Public Goods," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 145-157, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jincot:v:14:y:2014:i:2:p:145-157
    DOI: 10.1007/s10842-013-0157-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
    2. Simon P. Anderson & Stephen Coate, 2000. "Market Provision of Public Goods: The Case of Broadcasting," NBER Working Papers 7513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Frijters Paul & Velamuri Malathi, 2010. "Is the Internet Bad News? The Online News Era and the Market for High-Quality News," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2), pages 1-33, June.
    4. Anderson, Simon P. & Gabszewicz, Jean J., 2006. "The Media and Advertising: A Tale of Two-Sided Markets," Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, in: V.A. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 567-614, Elsevier.
    5. Michael Spence & Bruce Owen, 1977. "Television Programming, Monopolistic Competition, and Welfare," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 91(1), pages 103-126.
    6. Hans Jarle Kind & Tore Nilssen & Lars Sørgard, 2006. "Competition for Viewers and Advertisers in a TV Oligopoly," CESifo Working Paper Series 1862, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Hans Jarle Kind & Tore Nilssen & Lars Sørgard, 2007. "Competition for Viewers and Advertisers in a TV Oligopoly," Journal of Media Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 211-233.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gregory S. Miller & Douglas J. Skinner, 2015. "The Evolving Disclosure Landscape: How Changes in Technology, the Media, and Capital Markets Are Affecting Disclosure," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 221-239, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Commercial public goods; New media; Information technology; L10; L15; L82; O30;

    JEL classification:

    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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