Chapter 13: Economic analysis in media policy making
Because this volume examines the economics of media from multiple perspectives, it is important to begin this chapter with a clear understanding of the specific media economics issues to be addressed herein. Media policy means a goal or series of goals, set by society, in this case taken to mean a national government, together with a series of policy instruments that can be implemented and adjusted to foster the goals. The goals may vary from country to country and, due, inter alia, to differences in the national legal system, the menu of policy instruments is also likely to vary across countries. This chapter will focus on the US and the UK, although the discussion of goals and the review of relevant literature will certainly be applicable to other areas as well. The focus will be on electronic media, both free-to-air (television) and pay (cable television, satellite television, and to some extent, Internet-delivered content). Some attention will be paid to newspapers as well. As it happens, much of the theoretical work is not tied to any distribution technology. Moreover, much of the empirical work on media content analysis focuses on newspapers, due to the availability of data (that is, the actual text of newspaper stories is relatively easy to find, whereas recordings or transcripts of, say, television news programs are far less widely available). Due to space limitations, coverage will be selective. In addition to the other chapters of this volume, there are several valuable survey works available.
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