The authors analyzed the relationship of visits to a magazine's online companion website and total circulation, subscription, and kiosk sales using bivariate vector autoregressions estimated on 67 German magazines that were observed monthly in the period May 1998 to November 2009. Their econometric analysis finds some support for the widespread belief that the Internet cannibalizes print media. On average, a 1% increase in companion website traffic is associated with a weakly significant decrease in total print circulation by 0.15%. This association is mainly driven by a statistically significant and negative mapping between website visits and kiosk sales, although they do not find any statistically significant relationship between website visits and subscriptions. The latter finding is reassuring for publishers because advertisers value a large subscriber base. Moreover, the authors show that the negative relationships between website visits and total circulation as well as kiosk sales are primarily associated with magazines that have a mainly male and Internet–affine readership and by magazines that are published with a less than weekly periodicity.
Journal of Media Economics, 2012, Vol 25, Issue 4, p. 184-197