Do Government-Imposed Ownership Restrictions Inhibit Efficiency? FCC's Duopoly Rule

Authors:
Keith Anderson and John Woodbury
Working Paper:
169

The Federal Communications Commission limits the common ownership of multiple broadcast outlets in the same local market. This paper examines whether there are efficiencies from common ownership that might be realized by relaxing these restrictions. We focus primarily on a comparison of prices paid for AM-FM combinations and for stations that are sold and operated as independent stations (i.e., "stand-alones"). We find that stations that were sold as combinations have higher predicted prices as combinations than as stand-alones, thus providing evidence of efficiencies. Increases in the number of combinations over time provides additional evidence of economies from joint operation.