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Time scarcity and the market for news
Alaoui, Larbi; Germano, Fabrizio
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
We develop a theory of news coverage in environments of information abundance. News consumersare time-constrained and browse through news items that are available across competingoutlets, choosing which ones to read or skip. Media firms are aware of consumers' preferences andconstraints, and decide on rankings of news items that maximize their profits. We find that, evenwhen readers and outlets are rational and unbiased and when markets are competitive, readersmay read more than they would like to, and the stories they read may be significantly differentfrom the ones they prefer. Next, we derive implications on diverse aspects of new and traditionalmedia. These include a rationale for tabloid news, a theory of optimal advertisement placementin newscasts, and a justification for readers' migration to online media platforms in order to circumventinefficient rankings found in traditional media. We then analyze methods for restoringreader-efficient standards and discuss the political economy implications of the theory.
Behavioral and Experimental Economics
media competition; news ranking; political economy; scarcity of time
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