Every other form of media has written the obituary for the print medium. Last week Brian Williams of NBC was on Jay Leno and said
“newspaper is so dated, before going to bed I know what is going to be in the paper next morning”
Do people buy newspapers for getting the latest information? No, I claim those who buy newspapers buy them for convenience as I explained in my post on books. Newspaper are not dead. As long as there is a segment that prefers consuming the content that is printed on a paper rather than through any other medium there will be newspapers.
But the key point is to realize that newspapers are not anymore a product for the entire market, the customer mix is changing and shrinking. The price conscious customers have already moved on to cheaper alternatives. Anyone who buys printed newspaper now, values it a lot more than those who quit buying and hence should pay more to get it. So instead of continuing to price the newspaper for the mass-market the publishers should price them at a premium and serve just the small segment with higher willingness to pay.
Charging higher for the print newspaper has another favorable side-effect, it helps to set a higher reference price for the online version – when the publishers decide to start charging for it.