The long tail effect: reason digital media beats legacy media

The philosophy of the Long Tail is the shift of culture and economy from focusing on a small number of “hits” that are in high demand towards a huge number of niches in the tail in order to earn more profit.

The Long Tail in a nutshell

Back in the old day when legacy media is the only source of information, people would rather read a newspaper with diverse news, including both the breaking news and daily common news, than one with the viral news only. In the legacy media, a mass market always beats a niche market (Mitew 2017). Taking the case of Netflix and Disney as an example, the reason Netflix becomes more prevalent is that the company creates an abundance of content, from blockbusters to less popular movies from all kinds of genres, while Disney only shows hit movies of their own.

Nowadays, with the advent of the Internet, people switch to this distributed information network in an attempt to seek for content diversity. While it is difficult to find a category about geography or science in a journal or a magazine since not many people read it, now you can easily find one on Google or Wikipedia.

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And that is one reason digital media beats legacy media. Do you know any other reasons? Feel free to comment below.

Featured Image Source


Mitew, T 2017, The attention economy and the long tail effect’, Prezi slides, 21 July, Wollongong University, viewed 22 August 2017, <>.


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