Mass Media and Advertising

The mass media and advertising industries are subjects of considerable public debate because of the role they play in communicating political viewpoints and cultural values. Economic analysis increasingly has become a critical input to these debates and to policy decisions.

Overview

The mass media—including broadcast television, cable and satellite television, radio, newspapers, magazines, books, videos, and the Internet—largely share three characteristics: First Amendment protections and concerns about diversity; economies of scale arising from the relatively large fixed costs associated with creation of the first copy of a media product; and competition not only to sell products to audiences but to sell access to those audiences to advertisers.

Experience

EI economists have participated in the formulation of media policy while serving at the Federal Communications Commission, Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, and White House Office of Telecommunications Policy. In addition, EI economists have published extensively on media issues and are recognized for their contributions to economic and policy debates.

Because of their familiarity with media economics as well as antitrust analysis, EI economists are frequently called upon to analyze issues of market definition, market power, and damages relating to the mass media in connection with regulatory proceedings, federal agencies investigations, and court cases. Extensive media experience has enabled EI economists to develop particular expertise in issues relating to competition in advertising and direct marketing.

Examples of mass media and advertising work by EI economists include:

  • Economic reports submitted to the FCC in connection with such issues as regulation of the cable television industry, restrictions on broadcast television networks, and regulation of media ownership
  • Analyses of mergers, local marketing agreements, and joint operating agreements
  • Analysis of failing firm issues
  • Competitive implications of joint operating agreements under the Newspaper Preservation Act
  • Testimony and analysis regarding alleged monopolization and damages
  • Testimony and analysis for postal rate proceedings
  • Analysis of international trade in films and television programming
  • Testimony and analysis regarding copyright and licensing issues affecting broadcast and cable television
  • Liability and damages analysis in Lanham Act and Federal Trade Commission deceptive advertising cases
  • Analysis of the effects of alcohol and cigarette advertising