Article | Management Science | February 2014

Responses to Entry in Multi-Sided Markets: The Impact of Craigslist on Local Newspapers

by Robert Seamans and Feng Zhu

Abstract

How do firms respond to entry in multi-sided markets? We address this question by studying the impact of Craigslist, a website providing classified-advertising services, on local U.S. newspapers. We exploit temporal and geographical variation in Craigslist's entry to show that newspapers with greater reliance on classified-ad revenue experience a larger drop in classified-ad rates after Craigslist's entry. The impact of Craigslist's entry on the classified-ad side appears to propagate to other sides of the newspapers' market. On the subscriber side, these newspapers experience an increase in subscription prices, a decrease in circulation, and an increase in differentiation from each other. On the display-ad side, affected newspapers experience a decrease in display-ad rates. We also find evidence that affected newspapers are less likely to make their content available online. Finally, we estimate that Craigslist's entry leads to $5 billion in year 2000 dollars in savings to classified-ad buyers during 2000–2007.

Keywords: Multi-Sided Platforms; Market Entry and Exit; Web Sites; Newspapers; Advertising; Advertising Industry; Journalism and News Industry;

Citation:

Seamans, Robert, and Feng Zhu. "Responses to Entry in Multi-Sided Markets: The Impact of Craigslist on Local Newspapers." Management Science 60, no. 2 (February 2014): 476–493.