We study a cost-sharing mechanism where a content provider contributes to covering the costs incurred by a network operator when delivering content to consumers. The costshare not only boosts the content provider's incentives to moderate trac but also aects the price composition for consumers buying access and content. We show the overall eect on consumer welfare depends on the content provider's ability to monetize users. When that ability is high, introducing a cost-share can lead to lower overall prices and higher consumer welfare. We study the robustness of this result to long-term investments in cost reduction by the operator and to heterogeneity in consumers' taste for content. In extensions with multiple contents and multiple operators, contractual externalities arise that suggest a role for regulation.
TSE Working Paper, n. 22-1376, October 2022, revised March 2023