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
Date Written: October 1, 2006
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: Suggested Citation