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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Friebel, Guido / Requate, Till / Tsui, Kevin / Wichardt, Philipp / Zulehner, Christine

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Understanding the Internet's Relevance to Media Ownership Policy: A Model of Too Many Choices

Matthew G. Nagler1

1Lehman College, City University of New York,

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. Volume 7, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, DOI: 10.2202/1935-1682.1663, June 2007

Publication History

Published Online:
2007-06-26

Abstract

Does the Internet provide a failsafe against media consolidation in the wake of an easing of media ownership rules? This paper posits a model of news outlet selection on the Internet in which consumers experience cognitive costs that increase with the number of options faced. Consistent with psychological evidence, these costs may be reduced by constraining one's choice set to "safe bets" familiar from offline (e.g., CNN.com). It is shown that, as the number of outlets grows, dispersion of patronage across outlets inevitably declines. Consequently, independent Internet outlets may fail to mitigate lost outlet independence on other media.

Keywords: choice framing; media ownership; Internet; differentiated products; location models

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