Examining the Suspected Adverse Effects of
Competition on Media Performance


Adam Jacobsson, Eva-Maria Jacobsson, C. Ann Hollifield, Tudor Vlad and Lee B. Becker


Though most of the literature suggests that competition in the media market is positive, this paper argues otherwise. Drawing on a small number of studies from emerging media markets, the authors argue that the relationship between competition and the quality of the journalistic product is curvilinear, with an optimal level of competition producing a quality media product and higher levels of competition–such as the hyper-competition existing in many emerging media markets–producing journalistic products that do not serve society well.

The paper examines this question empirically through use of existing data from a small sample of countries where measures of media performance and of market competition exist. The findings are consistent with the expectation of a curvilinear (inverted U) relationship between competition and the quality of journalistic products in that country.

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