Handbook on the Economics of the Media

Handbook on the Economics of the Media

Edited by Robert G. Picard and Steve S. Wildman

This Handbook explores the economic features of the media and its infrastructure to provide readers with a sophisticated understanding of the critical issues and their influence on companies, audiences and regulators. The contributors explore and explain the impact of underlying factors such as multi-sided platforms, advertising and industry structure. They assess the unique economic factors affecting print, broadcast and broadband-based media, and highlight how the economics of the media can influence policy making. Each original chapter introduces the reader to a specific topic, reviews the literature on the development of knowledge in the field, explores critiques of the approach, and provides an understanding of applying this knowledge and the implications.

Chapter 14: Media economics in competition law

Tom Björkroth and Mikko Grönlund

Subjects: economics and finance, cultural economics, industrial economics, innovation and technology, technology and ict


Economic reasoning has always been an integral part of antitrust analysis. This is natural as competition law is essentially founded on results derived from economic theory and addresses questions that have economic characteristics. Economics has, as many sciences do, different schools of thought, or doctrines, which may influence the approach to and assessment of a particular economic phenomenon both over time and across jurisdictions. Consequently, the implementation of competition law and policy may be significantly affected by influences from contemporary schools of thought. According to Owers et al. (1998) the term “media economics” refers to the business operations and activities of firms producing and selling output into various media industries. For the purpose of this chapter we may be a bit more specific and refer to media economics as a branch of economics that applies prevalent theories and methods of economic sciences on media sectors. Therefore, this chapter wants rather to highlight the importance of the special features of media markets and of the field of research for antitrust analysis, rather than the importance of approaches that have sprung off the traditional industrial organization. This is in fact to underline the notion by Shapiro and Varian (1998) that the fundamental principles of economic theory do hold irrespective of the sector they are applied to. However, for the purpose of this chapter it is useful to let the concept of antitrust define the relevant features, phenomena and issues to consider from the viewpoint of media economics.

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