Advertising imperfectly translates viewer preferences into demand for programming, and evaluating the quality of news products is difficult for consumers. Consequently the ability of market forces to supply high quality news is a subject of continuing debate. This paper offers new evidence on the supply of news by examining the investments by television stations in weather coverage. Weather forecasts meet the classic economic definition of a public good, yet television stations across the U.S. undertake extensive efforts to provide viewers with weather forecasts. Stations in markets with a higher incidence of severe weather, particularly a higher tornado rate, make significantly greater investments in their own Doppler weather radars and weathercasters certified by the American Meteorological Society. Since television weather can help save lives during severe weather, the supply of TV weather coverage is at least approximately efficient.
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