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January 11, 2005


James Young

I think that we need to "fix the box" because we spent so much time thinking outside it.

Remember, Amazon is a dot-com winner because it made things easier and more convenient. The real Long Tail winners are going to be the ones that make getting what you want almost as easy as changing the channel.

The whole "death of" mantras seem soooo 90's. When EBay and Amazon start threatening Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy or (insert fav. retailer here), I'll start believing the death of networks.

I see this more as the release from the tyranny of the masses. The blockbuster will continue to exist but instead of being limited to it when going to the theater, I envision more choices when said theaters upgrade to digital projection and distribution, if it'll fill the seats, they'll show it.

The same goes for television. You see the Pro-Am scenario masquerading right now in television, calling itself reality tv. From the consumer side, the networks will figure out how to incentivize people to watch in real-time. Maybe more voting shows like American Idol?

Beating your chest loudly and making sweeping statements does get momentary buzz but I think what is really fascinating is how the transition is going to play out. The real win here is to get consumers to modify their behavior without them even knowing it.

Jakob Nielsen

I think there is going to be a wide range of sources for individually-delivered video. Just as there is for Web pages.

Much of entertainment-oriented video exists in the form of episodical shows, so if you have watched one or two, you may know that you are likely to want to buy additional episodes. Think Star Trek. Or even the several "generations" of Trek.

Reputatation managers may be less necessary for such episodes, because you will tend to watch "the next."

On the other hand, there's also going to be a large amount of non-fiction and editional video, that may well exist as one-off productions from specialists creating a single video about something they know or care about. Could even be somebody posting a tourist video from a rare vacation spot.

I have created a one-off production myself: a video on paper prototyping in user interface design. It cost $30,000 to make and has sold $35,785 so far, making for a tiny profit. Since it's about a topic that doesn't change very rapidly, this video can continue to sell for another five to ten years, and probably go beyond $100,000 in total sales.

Of course, this is nothing for a TV network, and they could never make a show for as little as $30K. Admittedly, the production values are not NBC (though it's good digital video), and nobody would confuse my anchoring talents with Tom Brokaw. But that's exactly the point: when you go out the tail, being specialized and targeted is what drives value.

Right now, my video is being sold on DVD through traditional e-commerce, but it could easily be streamed directly to people at the exact moment they wanted to learn about its topic. All we need is the payment infrastructure that would allow the bulk of the viewer's fee to be returned to the producer (like I-mode does in Japan for mobile content).

Dee Rambeau

We've been monetizing very high quality video in episodic form for several years now with resort golf. Once the streaming capabilities became what they now are, we're able to drive traffic from an existing television series on Fox Sports Network affiliates to a fully functioning web video channel. http://www.golflife.net

Some of our agency clients are creating web video channels in order for their clients to view the VNRs and broadcast hits that the agency has gotten for them.

It is revolutionary and as a veteran sports television producer during the 80s and 90s, I got to witness its beginnings. First, it was post-production to make the leap to tapeless(thank you Avid and Fast). Then it was field production to take the leap to tapeless(thank you Sony). Next it was formatting to take the leap (again thank you Sony for Betamax, Digi-Beta, mini-Digi-Beta and HD). Now it is, as we've all noticed, distribution that is taking the leap. Long live the long tail...

Wayne E. Yang

I think some people are being too quick to sound the death knell of traditional media and other content gatekeepers. We all know that networks are characterized by hubs, and there will probably always be media participants to serve in the role of media hubs / portals. The question really is over who will win out to become and control those new hubs. Note how some traditional players are attempting to co-opt new media players: for instance, in the way that newspapers like Le Monde are attempting to become the jumping-off point for some of their local bloggers.
Additionally, while the explosion of television and other traditional forms of media means that there will continue to be opportunities for the creation of alternative content, traditional companies will retain a role in the production of more polished content, since it will be difficult to best their ability to attract larger sums of production capital.

David Locke

If you watch me watch TV, then you should be able to deliver what I watch when I watch it. There wouldn't be any need to compile metadata and I wouldn't have to search.

Data warehousing managed to prove that certain generals and other officers were involved in the Argentinian disappearances long after the fact, and after they thought they had gotten away with it. This same technology can be applied to the middleground of TV and provide some amazing results.

The taxonomy is in the middle. The programming is the background. And, frequency is the end result of the forground sensors.

On distribution, ...

I've waited a long time for video on demand that would let me watch the Seattle local news, because that was what I wanted to watch. I don't live there, only visited once, and live someplace where nobody, except me would contemplate moving there.

I've searched the web for "Rat Patrol" boxed sets, but that isn't going to happen either. I could watch "Rat Patrol" all day everyday and not get tired of it for a long time.

The last time I lived in a suite hotel, I found myself channel surfing so much that I barely saw any whole show. I live without TV right now and have no reason to own one as long as the DSL is up. I really doubt that there is much of anything that I'd enjoy watching since "Nowhere Man" got cancelled and "Millenium" got too weird. I here there are a few good shows out there, but I never see them when I vist people with TVs.

Niche markets and the long tail are interesting, so thanks for sharing. The concepts apply in many other areas.

David Locke

A few days ago I stumbled to this website: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/myerson/research/1189.pdf. It discusses Poisson Games. These games are characterized by incomplete knowledge. They echo cultural gradients and the adoption process that moves a person from not knowing to knowing about and to know how.

I suggest that these kinds of games don't have Pareto distributions or the other distributions in the standard game theory game.

The Poisson distribution has a long tail.

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The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

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