Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 March 2007
This paper explores the economic factors that influence news coverage and discusses the difficulties of determining the impact of news content on political outcomes. Evidence from the United States clearly shows how supply and demand concepts can be used to predict content in newspapers, television, and the Internet. To demonstrate how the concept of market-driven news extends beyond the US, I trace out hypotheses about how media content in many countries should vary depending on three factors in news markets: the motivations of media outlet owners, the technologies of information dissemination available, and the property rights that govern how information is created and conveyed. I offer three different types of analyses – the measurement of product differentiation, information search patterns, and consumption patterns – to show how these ideas about competition influencing content could be tested across countries. The paper briefly discusses the degree to which market competition affects content in three Asian countries (China, Thailand, and Japan) and concludes with a section on the difficulties of designing policies to improve the operation of media markets.
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