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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Intermediaries in two-sided markets: An empirical analysis of the US cable television industry


Local television stations are platforms in a two-sided market connecting advertisers and viewers. This paper explicitly examines the effect that important intermediaries (such as cable, telephone, and satellite distributors) may have on a platform's pricing behavior in a two-sided market. I find that stations raise their fees to cable distributors because stations prefer that viewers access their content through satellite distributors with whom they do not compete in the local advertising market, and that station mergers lower stations' fees to distributors by partially internalizing a pricing externality that results from the mandatory bundling of local content.

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