Chris Anderson’s “The Long Tail” emphasizes the importance of unlimited selection and puts to rest the notion that all consumers care about is mainstream media. According to Anderson, every person will stray from the mainstream at some point and will want alternatives.
The best evidence supporting this idea is Blockbuster’s fall and the rise of Netflix.
According to the article, Netflix, which began in 1997, always took second chair to Blockbuster in the beginning. The main reason was because Blockbuster had a ready-now selection, while Netflix took three business days to mail a movie to the customer.
However, when high speed broadband and the ability to download and stream movies and television shows instantly became available, it was Netflix that ran with the idea. Because of this, people stopped going to Blockbuster and eventually the company had to file for bankruptcy.
Anderson highlights three main rules for the new entertainment economy to follow; make everything available, cut prices, and help consumers find it. Continuing to use Netflix as an example, they accomplished all three. The price is much cheaper than Blockbuster’s and they offer a greater selection, which is much easier for consumers to search through.
I believe the biggest question going forward is, which of these rules will be most important to consumers? If it is the price, then Netflix should watch out for Redbox coming on strong.