Media policy: an economic contribution
Media policies encompass a large array of activities and interventions carried out by governments and institutions to coordinate, promote, address and sometimes to control media industries. In Europe, different media are subject to different degrees and different kind of regulations. While record industry is practically neglected by public authorities, television is strongly considered both in market structure and in firm conduct, entry is strictly regulated and in many countries the set of choices in programming and advertising market are restricted. Book publishing and film production are both supported with specific financing and a lot of attention but the former is much less considered and regulated than the latter. Newspapers attract more policies and more financing than magazines and professional press operate at the edge of public attention. The availability of adequate information is one of the most important conditions for making markets and political systems work efficiently. The power of influencing, enhancing or concealing information on certain events may have relevant consequences for consumers and citizens. There are multidimensional relationships between the quality of information supplied by mass media, the competition in information and good markets, and the making of public policies. Media are undergoing constant change in many countries and the convergence with telecommunication made possible by digitalization has resulted in a number of new offer and significant transformations. While in the past different media were pretty separate industries with own value chains and distribution channels, the convergence process enable new product, new substitution pattern and a different kind of competition. For instance, the informative web site of newspapers, television and search engines appear much more similar than the original media. Regulation and policy follow the same pattern, and need to become more horizontal and media independent. The control of concentration level become a problem since the reference market can be different for each product and the simple cross ownership rules risk to be inadequate. Evolving media landscape pose new problems that national and European institution need to address in order to maintain and promote social and economic functions vital for societies.
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