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Unlike traditional products, digital content can be offered free because the marginal cost required for additional production is close to zero. Since free digital content is offered at a lower price than that of the competitors, it is a strategy that can beat the competition. However, digital content firms use various strategies, such as the advertising sales-based strategy, freemium strategy, and membership fee-based strategy. This study categorizes Korea’s digital content firms into three groups based on the pricing strategy and uses the meta-frontier analysis method in order to determine which group’s production function is closer to the meta-frontier production function. In addition, Tobit regression is used to analyze whether the differences in the efficiency levels between groups are statistically significant. The results reveal that the free group has the highest efficiency, followed by the fee group and the mix group in that order.
Unlike the traditional offline products, digital content products can be offered free because the marginal cost is close to 0, and advertising revenue can be raised based on secured consumers. However, there is some dissent among researchers regarding the optimal pricing strategy for digital content providers. In fact, firms in reality use various pricing policies. The present study categorized the digital content firms into three groups based on the pricing 15 strategy and estimated each group’s efficiency value using SFA. The estimation results showed that the mix group that uses both free and fee strategies had the highest average efficiency value, whereas the group that uses free strategy had the lowest average efficiency value. The limitation of traditional efficiency measurement methods is that it is unable to compare the efficiencies of groups that use different production functions. Therefore, TGR and TE* values were estimated using MFA. The comparison of efficiency values of three groups based on the meta-frontier production function showed opposite results. The TGR and TE* values of the free group were the highest, whereas the TGR and TE* values of the mix group, which had the highest TE value, were the lowest.