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Concentration and self-censorship in commercial media

Fabrizio Germano () and Martin Meier

Discussion Papers from Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science

Abstract: Within a simple model of non-localized, Hotelling-type competition among arbitrary numbers of media outlets we characterize quality and content of media under different ownership structures. Assuming advertising-sponsored, profit-maximizing outlets, we show that (i) topics sensitive to advertisers can be underreported (self-censored) by all outlets in the market, (ii) self-censorship increases with the concentration of ownership, (iii) adding outlets, while keeping the number of owners fixed, may even increase self-censorship; the latter result relies on consumers' most preferred outlets being potentially owned by the same media companies. We argue that externalities resulting from self-censorship could be empirically large.

Keywords: Media economics; media consolidation; media markets; advertising and commercial media bias JEL Classification Numbers: L13; L82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-com, nep-cul and nep-mkt
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Related works:
Journal Article: Concentration and self-censorship in commercial media (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: Concentration and self-censorship in commercial media (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: Concentration and Self-Censorship in Commercial Media
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