Digital Pricing.

I really wonder what the Economist and some other notable print media outlets have in mind when they set their pricing strategy for online pay-as-you-go access?

If you have a look at this Economist login page, a single article sells for $2,95. At the next better news stand I can get the entire print issue for € 4,70. Then I have access to all the information and not just this single article. I understand that I won’t get it until tomorrow morning and that I won’t be able to digitally manipulate the content (which I am not allowed to republish anyway) and there is a slighly smaller risk of digital piracy as scanning and OCR would be needed to get the article back on a screen.

But even assuming that the Economist would follow an absurdly counterproductive strategy of “risk” pricing – punishing people for buying instead of stealing (like the record companies do with enourmous success), this is an insanely high relative price. I understand that selling individual articles is problematic and bundling them is a large part of what makes the industry economically viable. So people who only want a piece at a time are not exactly ideal customers. But ideal or not – who can be choosy about money these days and – they could be customers!

But if someone doesn’t want to buy a subscription to either an online publication or a printed one, an overpriced single item is not going to make them want to. And neither are they likely to spend half the price of 120 pages on one and a half of them.

This is a wondrous world indeed.