Random musings, observations, squeaks, whimpers and perhaps the ocassional rant. About what, I'm not sure.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Long Tail...

Sell and deliver it all online...

Ever read Wired Magazine? You'll want to this month if you're in the movie or music or book business. Harry forwarded me this intriguing article called "The Long Tail". Here's the teaser:

The Long Tail
Forget squeezing millions from a few megahits at the top
of the charts. The future of entertainment is in the millions
of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream.

Its a long article, but the premise is simple... rather than selecting a few (movies, books, albums) to promote and distribute and making that the sum total of the (movie, book, music) business, why not differentiate between new/hot and obscure/hot to few content, price it accordingly, and deliver it all electronically?

Its an interesting idea. Take documentaries - IMDB indicates over 40,000 have been released. Blockbuster carries less than two-tenths of a percent of them. I was surprised to see the NetFlix carries over 3 percent, which is huge in comparison, but still such a small piece of the pie. Where's the rest of it. Not readily accessible is the answer. So what if if was all available online - what's the incremental cost of hosting and selling another title? Well, a butt-load more documentaries would sell, wouldn't they?

Check out this passage from the article:

This year, nearly 6,000 movies were submitted to
the Sundance Film Festival. Of those, 255 were
accepted, and just two dozen have been picked up
for distribution; to see the others, you had to be there.
Why not release all 255 on DVD each year as part of
a discount Sundance Series? In a Long Tail economy,
it's more expensive to evaluate than to release.
Just do it!
Maybe we will... know anyone who produces an independent film festival - like MIFF for instance? It might not be Sundance, but I smell an opportunity!


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