Local News Online: Aggregators, Geo-Targeting and the Market for Local News

We examine how placement of geo-targeted local news links on Google News affected local news consumption. Using a sample of news visits by 36,876 US households before and after a Google News design change, we find that aggregation increased the level and share of local news consumed online. Magnitudes are modest: consumption of local news among heavy Google News users rose by 25% after the redesign, but from a low base. We find that geo-targeting increased weekly consumption variety and reduced concentration among local outlets. However, we find no evidence for an aggregate increase in variety, suggesting that aggregators
play a limited role in product discovery.