DP14494 Media Competition and News Diets
Technological innovations in content delivery, such as the advent of broadcast television or of the Internet, threaten local newspapers’ ability to bundle their original local content with third-party content such as wire national news. We examine how the entry of television – with its initial focus on national news – affected local newspapers as well as consumer news diets in the United States. We develop a model of local media and show that entry of national television news could reduce the provision of local news. We construct a novel dataset of U.S. newspapers’ economic performance and content choices from 1944 to 1964 and exploit quasi-random variation in the rollout of television to show that this new technology was a negative shock in both the readership and advertising markets for newspapers. Newspapers responded by providing less content, particularly local news. We tie this change towards increasingly nationalized news diets to a decrease in split-ticket voting across Congressional and Presidential elections.