They are critically important.
We need Google/Facebook, or at least we perceive we need them.
My catalog clients need Quad, they need their Paper Rep, they need the USPS.
In mature industries, third parties seek to close out their competition. When successful, they are able to increase prices. When they increase prices, you suffer, and you don't have alternatives.
The "suffering" is what drives innovation. You need to come up with a new solution when your service providers pin you into a corner.
It's that time, folks, based on what so many of you are telling me.
You are now a media brand. You have to control your own generation of prospects who eventually become new customers.