A Method to Value Nature-related Webcam Viewing: the Value of Virtual Use With Application to Brown Bear Webcam Viewing
Worldwide, there are approximately 16,000 remote webcams in nature providing users with an opportunity to view wildlife without charge. In order to understand the monetary value of viewing these wildlife cameras, we examine variations in the vewers' oportunity cost of time to estimate consumer surplus. This model is applied to a sample of viewers of Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve brown bear webcams, and the resulting consumer surplus is close to $11 per hour of viewing, or about $27 million annually when applied to 2.42 million viewer hours. This park and presernve has limits on the number of visitors as well as high costs ofvisiting the remote site, which are factors making the aggregate webcam vieweing value more than twice the aggregate on-site viewing value. This valuation model requires minimal survey data, and we believe it has broad applicability to other nature-related webcams worldwide.
John Loomis, Leslie Richardson, Chris Huber, Jeffrey Skibins & Ryan Sharp (2018): A method to value nature-related webcam viewing: the value of virtual use with application to brown bear webcam viewing, Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy.
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/21606544.2018.1483842