Haven’t We Seen The Long Tail Before?

Chris jumped all over this Long Tail stuff after I sent him a link to the article and got me thinking. Maybe this thought has been expressed else where, but isn’t the Long Tail an updated version of the direct-to-video phenomenon? I mean, NetFlix may have more virtual shelf space than your neighborhood Blockbuster, but that video rental store has a similar size advantage over the local cineplex. A 10 theater cineplex shows around 200 different movies a year, given that most movies have a 2-3 week run. That’s a similar percentage compared to Blockbuster as Blockbuster compared to NetFlix. I wonder what percentage of Blockbuster (or NetFlix for that matter) rentals are never shown in theaters.

It took a while, but the major production houses eventually adapted to this phenomenon. Disney has had huge success with DtV including sequels of it’s biggest blockbusters. I would imagine that the media companies will adjust to the long tail phenomenon in the long run as well.