Evaluating Strategic Approaches to Competitive Displacement: The Case of the U.S. Newspaper Industry

Journal Article

© 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. The concept of competitive displacement is central to theories of media evolution, and the threat that the Internet has posed to printed newspapers provides an ongoing case study on the topic. In particular, this situation offers an opportunity to examine the strategic efforts of print newspapers to prevent competitive displacement, as well as the effectiveness of these strategies. This article addresses these issues through an analysis of a unique data set, constructed from 20 years of newspaper circulation data, as well as data on local market characteristics, newspaper staffing and content variety, and state-level Internet penetration. Specifically, this article examines whether, and to what extent, these competitive strategies impacted local print newspaper circulation trends over this 20-year time period. This analysis focuses on the following strategic responses: (a) newspapers’ launching of online versions (a diversification strategy within the language of media evolution literature); and (b) newspapers’ efforts to cover a greater variety of subject areas, as measured by the number of editors and special editorial sections produced. (The authors characterize these as a “mimicking” strategy from media evolution literature, as this strategy essentially represents an effort to simulate the much greater content variety that readers can find online). This article examines the relationships between these circulation, strategic, and Internet penetration variables over a 20-year time period, while also taking into account relevant characteristics of local newspaper markets.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mierzejewska, BI; Yim, D; Napoli, PM; Lucas, HC; Al-Hasan, A

Published Date

  • January 2, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 30 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 19 - 30

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0899-7764

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/08997764.2017.1281817

Citation Source

  • Scopus