The three-party market is the idea that we can watch shows on stations like NBC or CBS for free because a third party company pays for the show. In return, they are allowed to show advertisements during the show. However, it is not just the third party company paying for the show. We also pay for it by being effected by the ads, even if we don’t realize it, and we pay for it indirectly with our time and reputation. By watching that show and talking about it, we are creating publicity for the show and the network. So, although we are not physically giving the network money for the show we are still paying for it.
The first thing that popped into my mind when I read about the three-party market was Angry Birds. This app shows the hypothetical boxing match between the positive and negative aspect of the third-party market perfectly. In one corner you have Apple, which does not allow ads for their apps. To play Angry Birds on an iPhone or iPad (yes, playing on an iPad is a lot more fun, and no I can’t explain why. I guess bigger is just better.) you have to pay a dollar, but you have zero ads. In the other corner you have Android, which gives you Angry Birds for free, but in the middle of every game an ad pops up in the top right corner and makes it nearly impossible to track the bird. While my roommate argues that buying an app for Apple is comparable to buying a bag of Skittles and not that big of a deal, I am a fan of Android and the third-party market. Although I have to look at a small ad in the top of the screen, I get to play Angry Birds and enjoy a delicious treat, and he is left hungry and sad.