The Effect of a Magazine's Digital Content on its Print Circulation: Cannibalization or Complementarity?

Information Economics and Policy, Forthcoming

45 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2005 Last revised: 9 Jun 2014

Vrinda Kadiyali

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Daniel H. Simon

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA)

Date Written: October 1, 2006

Abstract

We examine how offering digital content affects demand for print magazines. Using a searchable website archive, we measure the digital content offered by a sample of US consumer magazines from 1996-2001. We find strong evidence that digital content cannibalizes print sales. On average, a magazine's print circulation declines about three percent when it offers a website. However, the effect varies with the type of digital content offered. Offering digital access to the entire contents of the current print magazine reduces print sales by about nine percent. We find no evidence that digital content complements print magazines. These results are robust to including controls for unobserved magazine, category, and time effects, as well as controls for the impact of contemporaneous price changes and other factors.

Keywords: Magazines, website, cannibalization

JEL Classification: L1, L82, L86

Suggested Citation

Kadiyali, Vrinda and Simon, Daniel H., The Effect of a Magazine's Digital Content on its Print Circulation: Cannibalization or Complementarity? (October 1, 2006). Information Economics and Policy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=689522 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.689522

Vrinda Kadiyali

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-1985 (Phone)
607-254-4590 (Fax)

Daniel H. Simon (Contact Author)

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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