Competition and Media Performance: A Cross-National Analysis of Corporate Goals of Media Companies in 12 Countries

Christian-Mathias Wellbrock, Maria Arango Kure, Christopher Buschow


Despite digitization and platformization, mass media and established media companies still play a crucial role in the provision of journalistic content in democratic societies. Competition is one key driver of (media) company behavior and is considered to have an impact on the media’s performance. However, theory and empirical research are ambiguous about the relationship. The objective of this article is to empirically analyze the effect of competition on media performance in a cross-national context. We assessed media performance of media companies as the importance of journalistic goals within their stated corporate goal system. We conducted a content analysis of letters to the shareholders in annual reports of more than 50 media companies from 2000 to 2014 to operationalize journalistic goal importance. When employing a fixed effects regression analysis, as well as a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis, results suggest that competition has a positive effect on the importance of journalistic goals, while the existence of a strong public service media sector appears to have the effect of “crowding out” commercial media companies.


media performance, competition, public service media, fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis, fixed effects regression

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