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Technology Shocks in Multi-Sided Markets: The Impact of Craigslist on Local Newspapers

Theories of multi-sided markets suggest that a platform’s pricing strategies on different sides of the market are closely linked, and in particular, an increase in competition on one side may lead to an increase in price on other sides. We empirically examine platforms’ pricing strategies by exploiting the gradual expansion of Craigslist, a website providing classified ads services, into local newspaper markets. We adopt a differences-in-differences approach by comparing the pricing strategies of local newspapers for which classified ads are likely to be a significant portion of their revenue to others before and after Craigslist’s entry. We find that these newspapers drop their classified ad rates significantly more after Craigslist’s entry. We also find that the impact of the entry of Craigslist propagates to other sides of the newspaper market. These newspapers increase their subscription rates relative to others, and consequently, their circulation also drops more. Finally, lower circulation also leads to lower display ad rates for these newspapers. Our study helps build an understanding of how incumbent media platforms respond to technologically disruptive entrants in multi-sided markets.

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Paper provided by NET Institute in its series Working Papers with number 10-11.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1011
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  1. Chandra, Ambarish & Collard-Wexler, Allan, 2008. "Mergers in Two-Sided Markets: An Application to the Canadian Newspaper Industry," MPRA Paper 7954, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  8. Andrei Hagiu, 2009. "Two-Sided Platforms: Product Variety and Pricing Structures," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(4), pages 1011-1043, December.
  9. Marc Rysman, 2009. "The Economics of Two-Sided Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 125-43, Summer.
  10. Elena Argentesi & Lapo Filistrucchi, 2007. "Estimating market power in a two-sided market: The case of newspapers," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(7), pages 1247-1266.
  11. David Godes & Elie Ofek & Miklos Sarvary, 2009. "Content vs. Advertising: The Impact of Competition on Media Firm Strategy," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(1), pages 20-35, 01-02.
  12. Robin S. Lee, 2013. "Vertical Integration and Exclusivity in Platform and Two-Sided Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 2960-3000, December.
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  15. Kaiser, Ulrich & Wright, Julian, 2004. "Price Structure in Two-sided Markets: Evidence from the Magazine Industry?," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-80, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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