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on its content elements and, to a smaller degree, on its transmission elements, despite the fact these are crucial when considering product accessibility. Therefore, the key feature of media products is their ability to satisfy their potential clients’ needs and goals for contents of an informative, persuasive, or entertaining nature. On this basis, the specificity of media products is defined by a set of basic components that distinguishes them from other products. Owing to their remarkable nature, some of thesefeaturesarearesultoftheproductsaseconomicgoods,whereasothercharacteristics stem from the particular social and cultural significance underlying the different types of content (Bates, 1988). Three basic aspects characterize media products from both perspectives: media products as information goods, media products as dual (multiple) goods, and media products as talent goods. Media Products as Information Goods Varian (1999) defined information goods as “anything that can be digitized” (p. 3). From that point of view, Varian asserts that information goods carry three key properties: they are experience goods, they are subject to economies of scale, and they display features that resemble those of public goods. To begin, media products are experience goods to a smaller or larger extent, which implies that they can only be valued once they have been consumed (Nelson, 1970). The uncertainty that arises from this standpoint can only be diminished by resorting to browsing, previewing, reviewing, as well as by building up a reputation through a strong brand. The fact that media products are experience goods very often means that product management must seek to win the customer’s trust. This will be achieved by adequately exploring value perception (quality–price ratio), which will be boosted or altered over time with the aid of an ongoing learning process. Along these lines, many media products behave also as credence goods—consumers cannot judge the quality they receive compared to the quality they need (see Darby & Karni, 1973; Wolinsky, 1995).
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9. MEDIA PRODUCT MANAGEMENT 183 The weight experience carries, along with the consumer’s confidence in these products, play a vital role in their management. Second, information goods are subject to scale and scope economies. Both phenomena are connected to the cost framework common to many of them: high fixed production costs for first copies and low variable costs, in some cases almost imperceptible, for reproduction. This structure enables marginal costs to be steadily reduced as the number of articles consumed grows (scale economies principle), besides securing substantial savings in both multiproduct commercialization strategies and in reselling ventures of a multiformated product (scope economies principle; Doyle, 2002, pp. 13–15). In addition, because of the unparalleled character of this economic structure, cross-financing is vital for a large number of media products (Ludwig, 2000), on the grounds that sales income is insufficient to finance their production.
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