Zero price platforms

Photo: Tim Mossholder

In the past years, there has been an increased interest in analysing online platforms where consumers do not pay a price. Watching a music video on YouTube, reading amusing content on Facebook, or finding accommodation on AirBnB does not cost oney for the buyer. The buyer is however committed to viewing advertisements, give up her data. In a monetary sense, a commission from a two-sided product (the supply side of a rented room) offers compensation for the platform. As many analysts remarked, such practices probably originated from the use of music and audiovisual content on radio and television [@cma_online_platforms_advertising_2020, pp 44–45; @support_study_commission_2021]. Most recorded music use takes place without the user paying for fit.

The new platforms that make music available for literally billions of people are global: YouTube can be accessed almost anywhere on Earth, and Spotify is selling subscriptions in more than 200 countries and territories [@spotify_where_2022]. From an economic or competition law point of view, it is particularly challenging to contend with zero prices and geographically unrestricted access to a service.

Competition Data Observatory
Competition Data Observatory
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