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Aggregators and the News Industry: Charging for Access to Content



The Internet has drastically altered the nature of competition in the news industry. This article develops a model of price and quality competition between firms in the online news industry. In equilibrium, firms randomise in their pricing strategies and this generates the cross- sectional mixture of advertiser and subscription funded models we observe. The model also plausibly explains why pricing strategies differ across content areas. Finally, an important part of my explanation is that aggregators, such as Google and, allow consumers to search amongst articles and direct consumers towards high quality articles. The model's results have implications for the ongoing public debate about the effects of aggregators on the news industry; although aggregators may harm firms, consumers may benefit.

Suggested Citation

  • James Rutt, 2011. "Aggregators and the News Industry: Charging for Access to Content," Working Papers 11-19, NET Institute, revised Sep 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1119

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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. Dirk Bergemann & Alessandro Bonatti, 2010. "Targeting in Advertising Markets: Implications for Offline vs. Online Media," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1758, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    3. Matthew Gentzkow, 2007. "Valuing New Goods in a Model with Complementarity: Online Newspapers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 713-744, June.
    4. Baye, Michael R. & Kovenock, Dan & de Vries, Casper G., 1992. "It takes two to tango: Equilibria in a model of sales," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 493-510, October.
    5. Zsolt Katona & Miklos Sarvary, 2008. "Network Formation and the Structure of the Commercial World Wide Web," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(5), pages 764-778, 09-10.
    6. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2010. "What Drives Media Slant? Evidence From U.S. Daily Newspapers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 35-71, January.
    7. Chrysanthos Dellarocas & Zsolt Katona & William Rand, 2010. "Media, Aggregators and the Link Economy: Strategic Hyperlink Formation in Content Networks," Working Papers 10-13, NET Institute.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peitz, Martin & Reisinger, Markus, 2014. "The Economics of Internet Media," Working Papers 14-23, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
    2. Joan Calzada & Guillem Ordóñez, 2012. "Competition in the news industry: fighting aggregators with versions and links," Working Papers 12-22, NET Institute.
    3. Alexandre de Corniere & Miklos Sarvary, 2017. "Social Media and the News Industry," Working Papers 17-07, NET Institute.
    4. Alexandre de Cornière & Greg Taylor, 2014. "Quality Provision in the Presence of a Biased Intermediary," Working Papers 14-06, NET Institute.
    5. Esfahani, Nikrooz Nasr & Jeon, Doh-Shin, 2013. "News Aggregators and Competition Among Newspapers in the Internet," IDEI Working Papers 770, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 16 Jul 2014.
    6. Esfahani, Nikrooz Nasr & Jeon, Doh-Shin, 2013. "News Aggregators and Competition Among Newspapers on the Internet," TSE Working Papers 13-388, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised 16 Jul 2014.
    7. Lesley Chiou & Catherine Tucker, 2015. "Content Aggregation by Platforms: The Case of the News Media," NBER Working Papers 21404, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Doh-Shin Jeon & Nikrooz Nasr, 2016. "News Aggregators and Competition among Newspapers on the Internet," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 91-114, November.

    More about this item


    Internet; Newspapers; Aggregators; Paywalls;

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

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