Charging for digital content is fine and good, but most stuff online isn't seen as having the same value as the physical counterpart and customers simply aren't likely to pay as much. The Times tries to skirt this logic by pointing subscribers to its pricey $35/month all accesss digital subscription, a rate that is actually $70 more per year at $455 than the five-day-a-week print paper which only costs $385. Since print subscribers get all digital access for free, the Times is essentially saying: "If you want to read us regularly but won't take all these dead trees off our hands, it's going to cost you."

Surely this is backwards thinking. As tempting as it is to use digital content as leverage for pushing more print subscriptions, smart publishers in the digital space should realize that growing the amount of customers willing to pay for the digital content is the chief priority for thriving in the future media landscape. Those subscribers who want to hold the print issue in their hands already know that the product has a value and have shown that they're willing to pay more for it.

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