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What Do Media Outlets Compete For?

  • Ascensión Andina

    ()

    (Universidad de Alicante)

This paper studies broadcasting competition, considering not only television stations that maximize profits but stations that want to influence voters. Following two strands of the psychological literature, we argue that media exert influence on two different ways: (i) they can reinforce viewers in their prior opinions, (ii) they can modify viewers' attitudes. We consider agents who flip through the outlets according to pleasantness. In this context, we show that the aim of maximizing profits and the objective of political influence result in different equilibrium ideological locations. This is so since the economic aspect pushes television stations to locate closer and political considerations lead them to polarize their locations. We also show that both results do not depend on the way media exert influence, but they do on the fact that viewers do channel hopping. In particular, we observe that, due to channel hopping, the equilibrium outcome may not be represented by the median viewer location when stations maximize profits and a extreme polarization arises when outlets aim is to maximize political influence.

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File URL: http://www.ivie.es/downloads/docs/wpasad/wpasad-2003-19.pdf
File Function: Fisrt version / Primera version, 2003
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Paper provided by Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie) in its series Working Papers. Serie AD with number 2003-19.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by Ivie
Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasad:2003-19
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  1. Gabszewicz, Jean J. & Laussel, Dider & Sonnac, Nathalie, 2001. "Press advertising and the ascent of the 'Pensee Unique'," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 641-651, May.
  2. Joseph E. Harrington & S. Brock Blomberg, 2000. "A Theory of Rigid Extremists and Flexible Moderates with an Application to the U.S. Congress," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 605-620, June.
  3. Alicia Adsera & Carles Boix & Mark Payne, 2000. "Are You Being Served?: Political Accountability and Quality of Government," Research Department Publications 4241, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  4. Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2005. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 07, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Spence, A Michael & Owen, Bruce, 1977. "Television Programming, Monopolistic Competition, and Welfare," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 103-26, February.
  6. Norbert Schulz & Joachim Weimann, 1989. "Competition of newspapers and the location of political parties," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 125-147, November.
  7. Stromberg, David, 2001. "Mass media and public policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 652-663, May.
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