The evolving Internet ecosystem: A two-sided market?

8 November 2012 - A Workshop on Other in Baku, Azerbaijan


Economists have been increasingly interested in recent years in “two-sided markets,” cases where some platform intermediates between the two sides of the market in order to ensure that there is sufficient subscription and use on both sides of the market. Free-to-air broadcast television is often given as one example, where the television network intermediates between advertisers and viewers; credit card systems are another, intermediating between merchants and consumers. The flow of payments in these two-sided markets can sometimes be quite different from those in conventional markets, as a means of achieving the levels of participation in the market. This workshop will consider: * Should the Internet ecosystem be viewed as a form of two-sided market, with network operators / ISPs collectively intermediating between content providers and consumers? * In what ways does the Internet differ from other two-sided platforms? In what ways is it similar? * How might a change in the level of any of these payments alter levels of participation? * What economic consequences might flow from changes in the level of payments and participation in the market? What social consequences might follow (for example, as regards innovation or free speech)? A diverse international panel of stakeholders will consider these issues from a wide range of perspectives.

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