The thing I took from this reading was encouragement. Having just attended an Australian Cinema lecture dedicated to the difficulty of receiving funding, the inevitable decrease in funding under the Abbot government, and the demand by funding bodies for genre film, it’s easy to feel deflated about the pathways available to me in any creative fields.
The Long Tail however leads me to hope that products that cater to niche markets have a better chance of thriving now than they ever did. Networks have enabled us to remove the need for tangible, geographically bound distribution; where pre-networks a film(or any other product) may have had a 3 person market for a store’s local reach, can now realise it’s potential (and much larger) market because geography and shelf space no longer is a factor.
Of course we will still need to ponder the magic equation of pricing, maximising our supply and demand balance and profits and how to source funding and go on to produce a product. But also that we may get more differentiation back into popular culture. That funding bodies wont so adamantly shy away from risky projects because it’s not actually so hard to turn a profit when you’re releasing online.
The Long Tail offered three simple rules:
#1 Make everything available
#2 Cut the price in half. Now lower it
#3 Help me find it.
I spent last year living in the United States and got to become hooked on Netflix. Having seen the effectiveness of luring our taste down into the Long End by making connections between our watch history I was able to discover films I would never have accessed before. Having seen the process at work and appreciated the process, I hope this tendency of distribution can only mean good things for the industry going forward.