Did You Hear the One About The Long Tail?

Did You Hear the One About The Long Tail?

Reader Comments (17)

  1. I think you have a stunning point there. We love big stories, and the more we talk about a smaller reality the more it ripples through the universe.

  2. Question.

    Can a big story be a small story?

    I mean, detail, seemingly mundane aspects of life, etc. Probably just a matter of taste on the audience’s part…

  3. Not to quibble, but Revenge of the Sith had a better opening day in terms of dollars of revenue per exhibition screen. Neither your point nor mine proves anything with respect to Anderson’s argument. But if anyone scored a data point this weekend, it was Anderson: A hit from the past was bigger than the biggest hit this year. If we adjusted for inflation, half of Hollywood might defenestrate…

  4. Ok Greg, I won’t call that quibbling. 🙂 Total weekend gross, even adjusted for inflation, makes POTC 2 the biggest opener of all time.

  5. > Total weekend gross, even adjusted for inflation, makes POTC 2 the biggest opener of all time.

    This is at least half wrong. Revenge of the Sith opened on 472 fewer screens. If its gross-per-screen is scaled up to the same number of screens as Pirates, it comes in at $56,460,913. You could argue that it might not have done as well on more screens (although it opened on a Thursday, not a Friday), but, at the same time, the population is by now marginally larger and presumably the per-head ticket price is somewhat higher. And yet again, if we take blockbusters from the past and adjust for population, available seats and inflation, it is reasonable to assume that one of those past movies would beat both Pirates and Sith. But, all of that notwithstanding, if the events of this week, this summer, and this epoch in movie-making history mean anything, they tend to support Anderson’s argument: Fewer big hits, big hits hitting less frequently, lower average grosses and many, many niche entertainment products — not all of them movies.

  6. I just got home from seeing POTC 2 and read your post. Strange cooincidence? Maybe. Me and hundreds of others were out seeing a fun, rediculous movie and having a good laugh. And tomorrow, I expect to receive my copy of The Long Tail in the mail which I pre-ordered some time ago. Some kind of convergence of something? I don’t know. I think even though the niche is alive and well, as you said, everyone enjoys a good story, even if you have to completely suspend belief and just revel in a good time. And look at the community it creates…all the people who can connect because they saw the same movie and enjoyed it. Ah, I ramble; it’s late.

  7. Greg, Revenge of the Sith is not the movie that was surpassed for total weekend gross — it was Spider Man in 2002 that held the previous record with $114 million in one weekend. POTC 2 beat Spider Man by $18 million.

    That’s an adjusted-for-screens-and-inflation ass kicking. I’m not sure what you are talking about?

    And if you read the post again, it says Anderson is right, despite POTC. The post is about stories, not numbers.

  8. Using the theory of the long tail, I should try to cover as many niches as I can to increase my chances of a home run (see Denton) or make a wee profit off each of them, cutting the ones that lose money.

    The theory reminds me of the pitch used by guy who used to sell the newspaper ad idea: If you make only $1 per day profit from your ad and you put the same ad in 1,000 newspapers, you’ll make $1,000 per day.

    So what i get from the theory is you can get in the hall of fame by hitting homeruns or a whole lot of singles.

  9. Joseph, that’s exactly right. Everyone should be aiming for single after single. The cool thing is that sometimes they accidently go out of the park when you’re not really trying.

    The key is not to swing for the fence. The key is rather to always put yourself in the position to run all four bases by crafting stories designed from the get-go to strongly resonate with people.

    At a bare minimum, these stories connect strongly with your niche. And every once in a while…

  10. you’re great at what you do.
    a top of a niche.

    niche that is going main stream.

    so i predict you’ll be top mainstream inevitably.

    maybe there’s a new kind of pop.


    of which nick hornby has to be the superstar.

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