Chris Anderson says that TV is the Sweet Spot for the Long Tail

The Long Tail I’ve been a big believer that microcontent belongs on the television set for a while now.

Chris Anderson articulates why television is the sweet spot of all Long Tail forces:

“TV produces more content than any other media and entertainment industry. There are an estimated 31 million hours of original television content produced each year. Although that isn’t as much as radio, most radio is either chat or recorded music that is available elsewhere, so it’s not in the same league. In addition, 115m digital video tapes are sold each year for personal camcorders.

Only a tiny fraction of it is available to you. First, the average American household now gets 100 channels of TV. While that sounds like a lot–it’s 876,000 hours of video broadcast to the average home–that’s still less than 3% of the commercial video that’s produced for broadcast each year.

Making matters much worse, unless that home has a DVR (and only 4-5% of US households do) and someone is spending a good chunk of their free time scouring listings to program it, they’re going to miss virtually all of that TV. Once TV is missed, it’s usually gone. Only a tiny fraction of shows are syndicated, and an even smaller fraction makes it to DVD.”

I would agree wholeheartedly with Chris and would add that the first major player to devlop a compelling microcontent platform will have a strong advantage in pulling clients in the highly competitive subscription television market.

The correct microcontent should not be standalone through an Akimbo type service but rather should be integrated into an existing cable/satellite line up — although certainly one of the major players should consider buying Akimbo and integrating their content immediately into their platform.

In addition, the major players should be assembling teams of editors and content surfers to find, manage, rank and promote interesting microcontent on the internet through places like and the Internet Archive. A solid UI combined with good content will drive sales.

Chris mentions Jeremy Allaire and Brightcove as an interesting place where television microcontent might begin to take hold. I’m looking forward to learning more about this shortly.