Week 5: The attention economy and the long tail effect

The internet has created a space where anyone can produce, distribute and access any from of media, or indeed product, as a result the niche market has grown and mass popular products are becoming less mainstream. Broadcast television for instance was a mass popular model of viewing video content, most people would watch the same shows, and the broadcast schedule dictated when audiences watched. However, sites like youtube are creating a place where small communities can gather around a particular brand of content, and view this whenever they desire. There are still mass popular channels with many over 10 million and the number one channel (pewdiepie) with 66 million subscribers. These channels are the minority and, niche channels make up the bulk of the channels on youtube.

“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.” (Anderson, C 2004). This kind of idea is expanded upon by Tom Scott (a youtuber who himself represents the niche market) in his video ‘Why You Don’t Want To Go Viral’. In the video he explains why the ‘one hit wonder’ more often than not kills the career of an artist or band, because they can either never hit the heights again, or they are stuck playing the same song over and over. It’s much better to be known in a smaller crowd for all your music, than a larger crowd for one song.

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One thought on “Week 5: The attention economy and the long tail effect

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  1. Hey nice post! You seem to have a comprehensive view of the Long Tail and how it manifests itself in media we use regularly, which is important if you want to fully understand something. I also found your linked video “Why you dont want to go viral” really interesting as well and it brought up a perspective which I had never considered before.

    Keep up the good work!


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