Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Preprint

Publication Date

3-2015

Abstract

We analyze two pricing mechanisms for information goods. These mechanisms are selling, where up-front payment allows unrestricted use, and pay-per-use, where payments are tailored to use. We analytically model a market where consumers differ in use frequency and where use on a pay-per-use basis invokes a psychological cost associated with the well known "ticking meter" effect. We demonstrate that pay-per-use yields higher profits in a monopoly provided the associated psychological cost is low. In a duopoly, one firm uses selling and the other uses pay-per-use. Here, in contrast to the monopoly, selling yields higher profits than pay-per-use. We demonstrate that, surprisingly, the profits of both duopolists can increase as the psychological cost associated with pay-per-use increases. Next, we show that uncertainty in consumer use frequency does not affect pay-per-use in a monopoly, but lowers profits from selling. In a duopoly, both the seller and the pay-peruse provider obtain lower profits when use frequency is uncertain. We also analyze how pricing mechanism performance is affected if the firms cannot commit to prices, if the pay-per-use provider offers a two-part tariff, and if consumers are risk-averse.

Keywords

information goods, competitive strategy, pricing, digital marketing, game theory

Discipline

Marketing | Operations and Supply Chain Management

Research Areas

Operations Management

Publication

Marketing Science

Volume

34

Issue

2

First Page

218

Last Page

234

ISSN

0732-2399

Identifier

10.1287/mksc.2014.0894

Publisher

INFORMS

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mksc.2014.0894

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