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The Economics of the African Media

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  • Julia Cage

Abstract

The focus of this chapter is on the economics of sub-Saharan African media. Using the history of sub-Saharan African newspapers as well as historical evidence from Europe and the United States, I study the emergence of market-oriented journalism and of an independent and informative press in sub-Saharan Africa. I document the extent to which sub-Saharan African newspapers have followed the same development steps than newspapers in other countries, moving from living off patronage and government favors to moving more towards mass sales and advertising revenues. I show that the story of the sub-Saharan African media is not a simple story of catching up and convergence. In particular, through the study of the economics of the sub-Saharan African media, I challenge traditional views of the media. I question the long-term sustainability of advertising-dependent media and discuss a new framework to improve the financial sustainability of mass media while preserving the independence of media outlets. I document the pros and cons of ownership concentration and argue in favor of the development of synergies between national and local newspapers as well as of the development of nonprofit media organizations.

Suggested Citation

  • Julia Cage, 2014. "The Economics of the African Media," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5ut30aqjfo8, Sciences Po.
  • Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/5ut30aqjfo8h69p4jd9j3iu2em
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Julia Cagé & Valeria Rueda, 2016. "The Long-Term Effects of the Printing Press in Sub-Saharan Africa," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 69-99, July.
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    Keywords

    Print Media; Advertising Revenues; Nonprofit Media Organizations; Corruption; Political Participation; Government Accountability;
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