NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Understanding Media Markets in the Digital Age: Economics and Methodology

Brett Danaher, Samita Dhanasobhon, Michael D. Smith, Rahul Telang


This chapter is a preliminary draft unless otherwise noted. It may not have been subjected to the formal review process of the NBER. This page will be updated as the chapter is revised.

Chapter in forthcoming NBER book Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy, Avi Goldfarb, Shane Greenstein, and Catherine Tucker, editors
Conference held June 6-7, 2013
Forthcoming from University of Chicago Press

Digitization raises a variety of important academic and managerial questions around firm strategies and public policies for the content industries, with many of these questions influenced by the erosion of copyright caused by Internet file-sharing. At the same time, digitization has created many new opportunities to empirically analyze these questions by leveraging new data sources and abundant natural experiments in media markets. In this chapter the authors describe the open "big picture" questions related to digitization and the copyright industries, and discuss methodological approaches to leverage the new data and natural experiments in digital markets to address these questions. They close the chapter with a specific proof of concept research study that analyzes an important academic and managerial question -- the impact of legitimate streaming services on the demand for piracy. They use ABC's decision to add its content to Hulu.com as a natural experiment and show that it resulted in an economically and statistically significant drop in piracy of that content.

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This paper was revised on April 22, 2014

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This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w19634, Understanding Media Markets in the Digital Age: Economics and Methodology, Brett Danaher, Samita Dhanasobhon, Michael D. Smith, Rahul Telang
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