Market Provision of Program Quality in the Television Broadcasting Industry
University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW)
June 24, 2012
The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy: Vol. 11, No. 1, 2012
This paper uses a simple model of duopoly competition to study the market provision of program quality offered by television broadcasters under three different regimes. In regime 1, two broadcasters are financed only with subscription fees (i.e., fee-based or pay TV). In regime 2, the two broadcasters generate their revenues only from advertising (i.e., free TV). In regime 3, one pay TV broadcaster competes with one free TV broadcaster. We show that the broadcasters in regime 3 (but not in regimes 1 and 2) vertically differentiate their channel programs if, for a given level of advertising market profitability, viewers strongly or weakly dislike the presence of advertising. In such cases, although the two pay TV broadcasters in regime 1 will unambiguously offer higher or lower quality programming than the two free TV broadcasters under regime 2, it is not clear which broadcaster will provide higher or lower program quality in regime 3 because this depends on the degree of horizontal differentiation between the channel programs. However, the levels of quality offered under regimes 1 and 2 fall between the quality levels offered by the two broadcasters in regime 3.
Keywords: television broadcasting, quality provision, advertising, media
JEL Classification: D42, L82Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 24, 2012
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