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How Broadcasting Quotas Harm Program Diversity

Perona, Mathieu (2010): How Broadcasting Quotas Harm Program Diversity.

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Abstract

Broadcasting quotas of domestic contents are commonplace in developed countries. The core argument for them is to promote diversity by making more room for domestic content and hence foster a more diverse production. However, this intuitive reasoning ignores the trade-off between repetition (broadcasting more of the same) and new program diffusion. If each consumer cares only about a small fraction on the total contents of the program, a broadcaster confronted to a quota will find optimal to compensate for the reduction of foreign programming by increasing the number of diffusions of substitutable domestic programs. Total broadcasting time being limited, this will force the broadcaster to slash marginal (less popular) types of programming, whereby reducing program diversity. This mechanism applies both in a monopoly and an imperfectly competitive setting. It thus undermines one of the main rationales for quotas of domestic content.

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