Same Story Different Channel? Broadcast News and Information

33 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2005

See all articles by Peter J. Alexander

Peter J. Alexander

Federal Communications Commission

Brendan Michael Cunningham

U.S. Naval Academy; Eastern Connecticut State University

Date Written: December 1, 2004


We present a positive model in which consumers derive uncertain utility from media output, in particular news. We suggest that consumer welfare is enhanced by the existence of diversity in news output and that diversity of news output might be related to market structure. We employ two novel databases measuring broadcast news content at the local and national levels in order to quantify news diversity. We find evidence that measures of market structure among broadcast media firms are a statistically significant determinant of diversity, conditional upon a variety of demographic and economic determinants. We also present evidence that a broader indicator of market structure, capturing the level of competition from cable programming, displays a positive, significant, and robust relationship with diversity.

Keywords: Broadcast media, diversity, market structure, uncertainty, welfare, portfolio approach

JEL Classification: D60, G12, H00, L10, Z10

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Peter J. and Cunningham, Brendan Michael and Cunningham, Brendan Michael, Same Story Different Channel? Broadcast News and Information (December 1, 2004). Available at SSRN: or

Peter J. Alexander (Contact Author)

Federal Communications Commission ( email )

Washington, DC 20554
United States

Brendan Michael Cunningham

U.S. Naval Academy ( email )

Department of Economics
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, MD 21402
United States
410-293-6894 (Phone)
508-302-2596 (Fax)

Eastern Connecticut State University ( email )

Willimantic, CT 06226
United States

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