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The Economics of (Peripheral) Features

I buy the New York Post, in large part because of the bridge column. A bridge column is peripheral to "news." So why should it be so important in my buying decision?

That's because the value of "news," on any given day, fluctuates wildly. Put another way, it's a grabbag of information that is valuable on some days, and worthless on others. So even though the Post is my "favorite" paper overall, I don't trust even the Post, on any given day, to deliver news worth the cost of the paper.

What I DO trust, however, is the value of the bridge column. The Post does a good job of providing analysis of a thinkers game, getting me to think. On any given day, the bridge column is worth the sticker price of the paper (and more).

Then, getting the "news" is just a "free roll," because the bridge column establishes a floor underneath the value of the paper.