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So Much For The Long Tail…

I have a ridiculous number of channels available to me on DirectTV. And I pay a pretty price for them. Most I could care less about. The only thing I care about is rugby – which, to get, I need to subscribe to every petty, worthless piece of crap TV programming created in the last decade.

This weekend there is a really big game – the New Zealand All Blacks, the #1 ranked team in the world take on Ireland – who have never beaten them. There are normally two options for viewing. First, Pay Per View. Having paid a just ludicrous amount for the privilege of all that programming, I need to pay even more to watch the game under this scenario. The other option is Setanta Sports – an Irish sports channel way down the line-up at 617. Being an Irish-based channel you would think they’d cover the game. But no, instead we are going to get France vs. Canada – what is likely to be a boring and sad whitewash. What were they thinking?

Broadcasters don’t get the long tail. Moreover, they don’t get what customers want. They play to the masses, not to the long tail. But they have the bandwidth and technology to do it. What they are doing is driving people – like me – to companies that get the long tail. Companies like NetFlix and MediaZone.

So, instead of paying for DirectTV and Setanta Sports I’m going to subscribe to MediaZone and get the games in all their 60’s Godzilla movie style. It’ll suck. I’ll listen to the games live on the radio at the same time to account for the buffering issues and shakes and jitters. But what I won’t do is pay for lousy programming decisions and a complete lack of understanding of what the consumer wants. I don’t want to pay for an entire season of sports but only get a fraction of the games being played. I want to get the season and the games.

This is the power afforded to me by the Web. Those that get the Long Tail will survive. Those that don’t will die – slowly for sure, but eventually technology and smart marketers will catch them.

One Response

  1. By Pascal Juergens on November 16th, 2005 at 2:16 am

    Dear Andy,

    the Long Tail all said and true, there are still major factors in the media industry which can hinder its workings. Especially licenses for sport events have a tendency to be either exclusive or horribly expensive. The Long Tail on the other hand works only with rather cheap items (because it needs a target grup that is potentially large enough) that are readily availible to anyone. What we are talking about, after all, is not selling the game to viewers, but to a handfull of TV stations. Sad but true, as long as TV channels haven’t split up and fragmented into suppliers of micro-content, you will see this situation again.

    Lets hope,

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