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New media competition and access: the scarcity-abundance dialectic

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It is often argued that constraints on access to new information and communication environments will disappear as services decline in price and as customers and producers engage in new market relationships. Following this line of argument, the relative scarcity of communication and information access opportunities of the past should be dispelled. The aim of this article is to illustrate the faults in this vision as applied to Internet and new media services development. It is argued that the new electronic environment will not be immune to forces of monopolization nor will it give rise to an era of market competition that fully protects the interests of all consumers and citizens. In fact, empirical evidence suggests that electronic intermediary service providers are populating the new markets and deploying strategies that are no less informed by monopolization strategies than in the past, though they do take different forms. The evidence is consistent with the inescapable dynamics of tension between abundance and scarcity in the market place.

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