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The Long Tail

The phrase The Long Tail describes certain business and economic models used by some larger Internet businesses.

Products that are in low demand or have low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters, if the store or distribution channel is large enough.

Where the opportunity cost of inventory storage and distribution is high, only the most popular products are sold.

But where the Long Tail works, minority tastes are catered to, and individuals are offered greater choice.

Consider television.

TV stations have limited time slots, so the opportunity cost of each time slot is high; stations therefore choose programs that have the broadest appeal.

But as the number of TV stations grows or TV programming is distributed through other digital channels, the choice of TV programs grows and the cultural diversity rises.

Some of the most successful Internet businesses have leveraged the Long Tail as part of their business model.

Note: This article excerpts material from the Wikipedia article "The Long Tail", which is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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