Long Tail Theory in Television Markets

Today’s market is powered by blockbuster hits.  The sales of these popular products return extremely high revenue for a period of time.  However, the smaller, less popular products are also selling, just in smaller amounts.  These niche markets are effective in a different way; while they don’t sell large numbers all at once, they do sell consistently over a longer amount of time.  There is always demand for lesser known material from a wide range of people and places.  The Long Tail approach uses the niche genre to sell a lot of different products to many people.  The study recorded a European television audience’s viewership of Video on Demand niche material:  cultural shows and videos.  The results indicated a high demand for free niche products and a smaller demand for the cultural shows that cost money.  While some  of the videos offered were more popular than others, they were all viewed at least once.  This supports the Long Tail theory’s idea that niche products are purchased by the public if they are available.   However, the study did indicate that the Long Tail approach may be more applicable in other forms of media, such as music and books. Regardless, catering to numerous smaller audiences with more specific tastes is a promising method of creating revenue.

The recent increase in companies taking advantage of the Long Tail Theory and offering products in niche markets shows how important this business is today.  The effect of companies like Amazon.com and Netflix that offer both the mainstream and the niche are having is profound.  They are setting an example for what the future of marketing and successful business could be. These companies are also very popular with the people, indicating that they will continue to be successful. These examples show that the Long Tail Theory is effective and useful in today’s markets.


Amok, R. (Creator), & Amok, R. (Poster). (2007). The Long Tail: For Marketeers [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Abf8ySWVJuA

Evans, T., De Marez, L., Hauttekeete, L., Biltereyst, B., Mannens, E., & Van De Walle, R. (2010, May 10). Attracting the un-served audience: the sustainability of long tail-based business models for cultural television content. New Media & Society, 12(6), doi:10.1177/1461444809354211


About anneka

Student of theatre production and communications at the University of Washington, Stage Manager and stagehand.

Posted on July 25, 2011, in Discussion Leader. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I think that the long tail is the area that has most benefited from the internet. The long tail makes a lot of material available that would normally die. A few artists that i really like have CDs out before they reached mainstream. These CDs would normally be hard to find, but the long tail of the internet made them available. I think that this is also of benefit to our society as a whole because the long tail keeps things alive for the future to potentially gain popularity.

  2. Hi Anneka!

    I was unable to get to your presentation, but I read over your blog and check out the video and presentation and I really enjoyed learning about the Long Tail theory! Although its a common sense idea, I had never actually heard of the theory itself. I think the movie was a great tool to explain the concept visually.

    The Long Tail theory is a living testimony in today’s world of cinema; and that goes for amateur cinematography. When I think of this, my mind goes directly to YouTube. How many times have we seen a viral video explode on the internet and then within months, or even days, the hype is over?

    Putting out information and distributing products little by little is an effective and smart idea on the producers end. It eliminates the high life with the crash and burn effect while creating a yearn by consumer to constantly want a little bit more each time. An example of this would be my favorite vlogger, Kingsley. I love watching his videos. He has created some favorites of mine, but if he would have stopped there I don’t think I would love him as much as I do now. Because he distributes his vlogs every couple weeks, it keeps users like myself always checking back in for the next post. We want more, and we are willing to wait for more as he continues to space out his videos.

    Equal distribution is effective. Like in the video, it will in the long run outweigh the initial blowup many blockbuster hits experience in the first months or release.

    Good job!!

  3. I like that the article tied in with this weeks readings and even more this weeks lecture.
    I am absolutely intrigued with the good and the bad of having a variety of options due to the change in economic structure online stores will have.
    So for the good, it opens the world to more options than mainstream (sometimes mindnumbing) can offer. Money talks and we all know that radio hits make record albums go platinum that creates profits for labels and artists. Movies like Avatar make money, reach a huge audience and can be seen for months. This also clogs up what is available in traditional means. If the movie theatre can only play 7 movies and Avatar stays for months, other smaller films are overlooked or shunned out faster. Hot songs get the most radio play on variety of stations leaving little time for new artists to get airtime. I love that we can now listen, watch and read so much more due to the low cost of having a database storage that doesn’t require a warehouse, but a server room.

    The bad is the pessimistic point of view. I have a hard time accepting that we will not suffer the effect of physical mom and pop stores closing for grandeous online stores. They have low overhead, require one main office, and employees change from low tier retailers to high functional tech people. The amount of people will be greatly reduced and local jobs will be lost. This is going to affect the people living in lower classes. The retail job provides thousands of people the ability to stay above the poverty line earning a wage, providing insurance benefits and keeping American jobs. If we begin to lose low level jobs by the thousands to increase high level jobs by the hundreds we are creating an economic divide that can not be ignored. The industrial revolution changed the economy drastically, and I think we are living in a technical revolution that will have just as dramatic affects on the overall condition of divided

  4. I enjoyed that you tied your report to the readings. I found that the ‘niche’ market and availability to make money quite interesting. I know that the radio tends to play the same song over and over, and Avatar consumed movie theatres for months when it came out. Popular hits make money for sure, we can not argue that fact. I love that the internet and new sources have the ability to offer things that arent mainstream for people looking for something different. It truly does not have a negative affect for online store or databases and cost very little to make accessible with the popularity of housing the mainstream items as well.

    The only thing about this that does worry me is in regards to the Network Pessimitic point of view. I am worried to see physical stores closing that employ thousands of people with a minimum wage. If we continue to lose jobs that allow a security for people to stay out of poverty, we will only continue on a downward spiral for lower income families. We already have millions that will fall below the poverty line this year. If there is no opportunity due to economic stress, lack of jobs, and no ability to afford higher education, we will see a downward trend in American livlihood.

    So we can see the great shiny affect that variety gives people We will also see a more detrimental economic affect that online stores will have on availability of low tier retail positions and the people they employ.

  5. I think your topic is really interesting! Personally I’m interested in niche market, it is a trend that more and more stores have been emerged that just targeting a small specific customers, and a very important aspect I’ve found is that these owners tend to create a more loyal and long term relationship with their customers. Because first, they are credible; the customers believe the owners have the expertise in this specific field that they are willing to follow. Also, the owners and the customers are creating a strong circle that they are sharing their information or opinions on a product/type of product every now and then, and therefore the circle helps them to establish an identity and feel themselves as a part of this circle. So everyone is willing to contribute, and the circle keeps getting stronger.

    In a long term, I do think niche market is a must in the future and it will definitely benefits our society as well as the economic.

  6. Your topic is really interesting. I think ‘Niche Market’ is increasing due to online and home shopping. Through blogs, the company advertises the specific item with less cost and customers that are interested in do not buy once, they become steady customers that look their items constantly. Relationship between customers and the company are bonded and also the group of customers can form their own community that promotes or recommends the specific item .

  1. Pingback: week 6 – Monday (25 July 2011) « COM300: Basic Concepts of New Media

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