The Revealed Demand for Hard vs. Soft News: Evidence from Italian TV Viewership

38 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2021 Last revised: 18 Nov 2021

See all articles by Marco Gambaro

Marco Gambaro

Università degli Studi di Milano - DEPA

Valentino Larcinese

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics

Riccardo Puglisi

University of Pavia

James M. Snyder

Harvard University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 2021

Abstract

We analyze minute-by-minute, individual level data on viewership for Italian TV news broadcasts (from AUDITELTM), matched with detailed data on content (from Osservatorio di Pavia). We are interested in the behavior of viewers, and in particular in their decision to switch away from a news program as a function of the type of story they are currently watching. Somewhat surprisingly, we find that “soft” news systematically induces viewers to switch away, even more than “hard” news. On the other hand, sensational stories about crime, accidents and disasters are associated with less switching. We also find significant differences in this switching behavior according to gender, age, and the specific TV channel being watched. For example, young people are relatively more likely to switch away from hard news than soft news, compared to older people.

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Suggested Citation

Gambaro, Marco and Larcinese, Valentino and Puglisi, Riccardo and Snyder, James M., The Revealed Demand for Hard vs. Soft News: Evidence from Italian TV Viewership (July 2021). NBER Working Paper No. w29020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3889126 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3889126

Marco Gambaro (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi di Milano - DEPA ( email )

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Valentino Larcinese

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics

Riccardo Puglisi

University of Pavia

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27100 Pavia, 27100
Italy

James M. Snyder

Harvard University ( email )

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United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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