You know it's time to move the Long Tail from the wired column to the tired column when USA Today starts talking about it. The paper assembled an all-star panel including TiVo chairman Michael Ramsay, Firefox developer Blake Ross and Chuck D to talk about what's ahead for the internet and digital entertainment.
Q: What does the "long tail" mean for entertainment and media?
Ramsay: ... We can measure it. There's maybe only a hundred people who watch bass fishing or speed knitting or whatever. So they watch it, and it's important to them.
What we've found is that the viewing patterns of people who watch live television — and are therefore restricted to prime time whenever they're home — are dramatically different than the viewing patterns of people who have the choice of just picking whatever they want.
Given the choice, people will migrate towards a much greater variety, and the deal is you've got to make everything available to everybody so that they're not restricted. And if you do, the market for that more esoteric, more specialized stuff is just as big as the market of the mainstream stuff.
There's plenty more good stuff in the article, including Michael Ramsay talking about "storage anxiety" when people have too many things saved on their TiVo that they're never going to get around to watching.