16 novembre 2008

Long Tail consumers

Dina Iordanova : "The channels of circulation described here are still being studied independently from one another. Yet, there is a growing and overarching acknowledgement that they increasingly interact and interlink, in a hybrid and flexible, mercurial and mutating manner. The result is a more complicated picture, one that leads us to the realisation that it is necessary to underpin the argument by dynamically correlating the peripheral strategies of the global cinema."
Via "Maya" I found this book : "Budding Channels of Peripheral Cinema: The Long Tail of Global Film Circulation" Dina Iordanova, 2008 [online book preview here] Here is Dina Iordanova's own blog : Dina View
Dina Iordanova : "Chris Anderson's The Long Tail: How Endless choice is Creating Unlimited Demand. Why The future of Business Is Selling Less of More (2007) [..] contained the definitive announcement of the end of blockbuster culture and the arrival of Internet-enabled trade for niche products. [..] The suppressed treasure-trove of cinematic content of 'peripheral cinema', sidelined into the margins by the enduring blockbuster culture, is about to break through and reveal all its glorious richness and diversity, in large measure due to shifts in the channels of distribution. The Long Tail was showing and why this might already be happening.
Analysing the ways in which the new Internet-based technologies are transforming distribution patterns in the creative industries, Anderson argues that for the first time in history blockbusters and niche markets were on a nearly equivalent footing. Both are equally worthy of development from a distribution point of view because the large number of niche products multiplied by even a sales still results in a viable and powerful economic figure, creating the 'Long Tail' effect.
In the new mode of distribution, a vast number of products, while not available in stores are now obtainable from Internet-based distributors that command huge on-demand inventories and that can both expand existing markets and cater to niche consumer interests. Markets become liberated from the 'tyranny of the geography' : the new distribution set-ups permit unrestrained availability of relatively small numbers of distinctive products, and the remote village residents can have access to cultural goods as easily as those in the most central metropolitan locations." [..]
The Long Tail, Chris Anderson's lecture at UC Berkley, 17 Nov 2006 [YouTube video] 55'

The concept of the Long Tail, explained on Chris Anderson's WIRED blog, says that "when control of information and processes becomes more democratized, a tail distribution of content suppliers and consumers forms. Control shifts to the tail of its own accord." The Long Tail of least popular (less profitable) movies (for instance) counterbalances the few "best sellers". It's a Power law distribution, therefore according to the Pareto principle (or 80-20 rule, as represented by the orange-red colours on the graphic above, the 2 coloured areas have the same surface), 20% of the most prolific suppliers weigh as much stock as the 80% left of less prolific suppliers. Or 20% of the most frequent consumers order as much as the 80% left of less frequent consumers. Or the top 20% of B.O. movie winners sell as much admissions as the 80% left of B.O. bottom combined.
"The forces of Web 2.0 create a natural shift of control and democratization of supply and consumption. Low-frequency events or populations cumulatively outweigh the initial portion of the distribution. Most control falls into the Long Tail, making more use of resources, with a tendency to route around ineffective central control."
Dina Iordanova : "It's only now, with the enabling power of the Internet, that the distribution of "peripheral" merchandise can reach wider audiences alongside the few smash hits that traditionally dominate image markets. What the Long Tail concept arrestingly illustrates, however, goes beyond the immediate concern of the on-line marketability of specialised cultural goods. It demonstrates the reconciliation of commercial viability and special interests, and, with its view of triumphant narrowcasting, brings together production (niche creativity) and consumption (dispersed demand for a broader range of cinema.) [..]
We have been led to believe that the world of cinema is divided into Hollywood, powerful and thriving, and the rest, weak and fading. [..]
This model is also used to describe the Power law distribution of blockbusters vs niche movies, as well as the distribution of Paper Press (few titles but prominent fame and high circulation) vs the wide Blogosphere (small readership but sprawling endlessly, and relaying information through an interactive network), or the distribution of the "Big 6" Major Hollywood studios vs the crowd of shoestring-tight budget Indie producers, or even the distribution of the 4 major international Film Festivals vs the countless small local festivals. Thanks to the internet, stock and distance to your nearest supplier become moot points, liberating small distributors from structural costs, and opening them to an instantly worldwide consumer base. The niche interest cinephiles can now join forces and access their rare objects of desire even if the traditional commercial structure only supplies popular/profitable items.
Dina Iordanova : "These processes are best seen on a scale that transcends strictly defined framework of the national. Peripheral cinemas can no longer be treated as a mosaic of discrete cultural phenomena. One increasingly recognises that the localities of production are spatially disjointed and the audiences increasingly scattered around the globe. This is where studies of peripheral cinema come into the picture. They approach the cycle of film production, dissemination, and reception as one dynamic process that transcends national borders, reflecting the mobility of human existence in the global age. [..]
The multicultural realities of today's world make it important to grasp the complex interactions of circulating iconographies, ideologies, and narratives. Our current concepts of the pattern of comprehensive cultural exchanges are inconsistent and patchy, and there are only a handful of studies at our disposal that propose a more complex picture of the 'alternative modernities' at the periphery. We need a better understanding of the essence and the effects of transnational cultural circulation originating from the periphery, one that we can only acquire by bringing together knowledge and analysis of the various strands of trans-border media flows present in our globalized environment."
Taste in Film culture will no longer be dictated by the mainstream majority, and hopefully giving a chance to niche movies to progressively reach popular status because they are actually available. Online distributors produce their stock on order to limit wasted time and excess stock.
Whereas the old system defined the popular items a priori (through market studies and statistics), thus condemning less popular items to stay underexposed (because ordering them, stocking them, marketing them was too expensive for the unlikely customer willing to buy it locally). In the Global Village, even the less popular movies may foster a larger fanbase by accumulating all insignificant isolated local niches and turning them in a sizeable share for the market to profit from without rendering scarce items excessively overpriced.

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3 commentaires:

HarryTuttle a dit…

EDIT : For those reading my post on RSS feeds readers, I had to correct the phrasing of one of the paragraph. I hope I got it right this time so it appears less confusing now.

"It's a Power law distribution, therefore according to the Pareto principle (or 80-20 rule), 20% of the most prolific suppliers weigh as much stock as the 80% left of less prolific suppliers. Or 20% of the most frequent consumers order as much as the 80% left of less frequent consumers. Or the top 20% of B.O. movie winners sell as much admissions as the 80% left of B.O. bottom combined."

HarryTuttle a dit…

Adrian Martin recommends to read:

"Politique des archives. European Cinema and the Invention of Tradition in the Digital Age" By: Vinzenz Hediger (Rouge)

Scroll half way down the article for the chapter "Mass Market cinephilia", and to the last 4 paragraphs at the bottom of the page for the citation of Chris Anderson's Long Tail concept.

"under the traditional film distribution system, a limited number of big blockbuster movies make most of the box-office money, leaving little space in theatres and video stores for smaller films (let alone arthouse films), things will be different once VOD and online distribution take hold. Under the conditions of potentially unlimited access to all films ever made, heretofore obscure and unknown films and even flops will end up finding their audience and making money for their copyright holders, thanks to users’ online recommendations." [..]

"Apart from the fact that we are still a far cry from the digital Utopia of complete availability of every film preserved in the archives of this world, customer choices or user access patterns follow the patterns of marketing campaigns. For lack of time or better clues, users will access content as advertised, both ‘new’ and ‘old’. If traditional cinephilia was a bond of love and curiosity, mass-market cinephilia is a blend of love and marketing. This also means that there is little incentive for the copyright holders and film library owners to make their complete holdings available to the free­wheeling user who, through their browsing and viewing activities will spontaneously valorise these holdings and turn them into profitable propositions, and more incentive to focus on a few promising titles which are then marketed properly."

HarryTuttle a dit…

Paul Brunick : "These transformations in distribution would not be epochal in and of themselves—as with the advent of cable television, media conglomerates would diversify their assets, provide readers with a relatively broader range of options, and the underlying economy would remain basically the same. But the Internet has dramatically transformed another infrastructural economy: production. The capital-intensive industry of ink-and-paper publishing is being displaced by a digital model where the overhead is, basically, no greater than the cost of bus fare to a public library. The fact that anyone (and seemingly everyone) can publish to blogging platforms has dramatically altered the economies of scale. As Wired editor Chris Anderson laid out in his influential book The Long Tail, the Internet is transforming mass-market media of the post–Industrial Age (newspapers, books, CDs, and DVDs) into the niche media of the digital future: “For the first time in history, hits and niches are on equal economic footing, both just entries in a database called up on demand, both equally worthy of being carried.”"

WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY: Part of the paradigm shift—or part of the problem? (Film Comment, Sept 2010)