Newspapers: 180 years of not charging for content | NewsFuturist: – (explaining the rule of marginal-cost pricing)

As news now moves online, the same rule of economics apply: The price of a product in a competitive market falls to the marginal cost of creating and delivering one more unit.

For printed newspapers, the marginal cost was a little more paper and ink, maybe an extra block on the delivery route. Subscription fees never accounted for the fixed costs of producing the content: the building, staff, printing press, etc. That share of costs has long been paid by advertising and diluted by economies of scale.

The same economic forces apply online. And because the marginal cost of bits is nearly zero, the appropriate price becomes too small to bother tracking. Free is the result.

Another reminder that those who do no know history are doomed to…

Well, in the case of newspapers, they’re just doomed.