Found an interesting study by Lex Miron from CIBC World Markets that tries to test for the existence of a long tail in interactive media properties using Nielsen Net Ratings (NNR) data. Lex measures user engagement as total number of minutes spent on a site + then looks at the distribution.
These findings alone do not support the existence of a long tail in interactive media. In fact, they support just the opposite: Interactive media is indeed the “land of the large.”
No surprise. I’m not sure anyone has claimed that there is (or should be) a long tail in brands, which is what Lex is measuring.
Long tails are enabled by the diversity in human interests. Most of us will like at least one of the songs on the current top 20 hits list. Thus begins the head of the distribution. From there on, our likes will distribute over a wider and wider universe of music. Hence, the long tail in music consumption. In short, long tail distributions are likely to appear when consumers are faced with a concrete set of product/content choices.
Most large online interactive media brands are diversified. They aggregate large amounts of content to become more attractive destinations for consumers and keep them engaged longer. Choosing between brands operating across content categories is not the same as choosing content within the same category.
Just consider the following. Brands can merge, combining their standing in the usage distribution and altering its shape without altering the underlying set of consumer content choices. It hurts to contemplate songs/artists merging…