Two-Sided Network Effects: A Theory of Information Product Design
How can firms profitably give away free products? This paper provides a novel answer and articulates trade-offs in a space of information product design. We introduce a formal model of two-sided network externalities based in textbook economics---a mix of Katz and Shapiro network effects, price discrimination, and product differentiation. Externality-based complements, however, exploit a different mechanism than either tying or lock-in even as they help to explain many recent strategies such as those of firms selling operating systems, Internet browsers, games, music, and video. The model presented here argues for three simple but useful results. First, even in the absence of competition, a firm can rationally invest in a product it intends to give away into perpetuity. Second, we identify distinct markets for content providers and end consumers and show that either can be a candidate for a free good. Third, product coupling across markets can increase consumer welfare even as it increases firm profits. The model also generates testable hypotheses on the size and direction of network effects while offering insights to regulators seeking to apply antitrust law to network markets.
Volume (Year): 51 (2005)
Issue (Month): 10 (October)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA|
Web page: http://www.informs.org/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Armstrong, Mark, 2002. "Competition in two-sided markets (2002 version)," MPRA Paper 42863, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Hal R. Varian, 1994.
"Sequential Provision of Public Goods,"
- Varian, H.R., 1991. "Sequential Provision of Public Goods," Papers 14, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
- Varian, H.R., 1989. "Sequential Provision Of Public Goods," Papers 89-17, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
- Varian, H.R., 1990. "Sequential Provision Of Public Goods," Papers 90-02, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
- S. J. Liebowitz & Stephen E. Margolis, 1994. "Network Externality: An Uncommon Tragedy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 133-150, Spring.
- Patrick DeGraba, 1996. "Why Lever into a Zero-Profit Industry: Tying, Foreclosure, and Exclusion," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(3), pages 433-447, 09.
- Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014.
"Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets,"
Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
- Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Triole, 2002. "Platform Competition in Two Sided Markets," FMG Discussion Papers dp409, Financial Markets Group.
- Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Triole, 2002. "Platform competition in two sided markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24929, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Rochet, Jean-Charles & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," IDEI Working Papers 152, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Arthur, W Brian, 1989. "Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 116-131, March.
- Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-440, June.
- Salinger, Michael A, 1995. "A Graphical Analysis of Bundling," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(1), pages 85-98, January.
- Yannis Bakos & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1999.
"Bundling Information Goods: Pricing, Profits, and Efficiency,"
INFORMS, vol. 45(12), pages 1613-1630, December.
- Yannis Bakos & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1997. "Bundling Information Goods: Pricing, Profits and Efficiency," Working Paper Series 199, MIT Center for Coordination Science.
- William James Adams & Janet L. Yellen, 1976. "Commodity Bundling and the Burden of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(3), pages 475-498.
- Chaudhri, Vivek, 1998. "Pricing and efficiency of a circulation industry: The case of newspapers," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 59-76, March.
- Mongell, Susan & Roth, Alvin E, 1991. "Sorority Rush as a Two-Sided Matching Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 441-464, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:51:y:2005:i:10:p:1494-1504. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.