Week 5: The attention economy and the long-tail effect

The currency of the digital economy is attention. Our attention is limited because we all have the same amount of time and want to focus on something that we feel is worth our time, this thus creates a great disparity between the hits and niche content.

Nowadays, there is a long tail effect when it comes to service providers like Netflix or Amazon. The reason is because most of our attention will go to the hits and blockbusters but we will still have a lot of niche stuff we can fall behind to inorder to create this identity among ourselves. Yes, everyone watches the Avengers, but does everyone know about the 2002 mystery, scifi, thriller Cypher? I bet you don’t. Hell, I just searched for it just now to be honest. We want to be cultured in what we watch/read or listen to. And now we are allowed to do so. Spotify recommends artists based on what we usually listen to: increasing our ear palate. The same with Netflix and its many unknown movies or series.

This addition of all these less popular forms of art is also good for the artists as they might suddenly be relevant again and get all of these sales going just because amazon thought it was a good idea to recommend your 10 year old book that only 32 people bought.

Less popular stuff is also usually cheaper compared to the more popular ones which provide a big incentive for people to try them out. Many places use this tactic to sell their items. Steam sells the games no one plays for half-price as a discount. And suddenly its the trendy thing to play as online streamers are playing them.

Attention is limited and we all want the best thing possible in front of us. And just because something is not a superhit and is from a niche market does not make it less valuable. People find value in the things that they enjoy and it is always better to have more options with both popular and unpopular items for us to choose from rather than only being able to have access to the most popular.

2 thoughts on “Week 5: The attention economy and the long-tail effect

  1. I do agree with you. I am guilty of just watching blockbuster as I am a fan of it. I feel like blockbuster bring people together as there is a common topic to talk about and common interest. After reading some article, I do fall into the “attention economy”.

    Liked by 1 person

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