“The Long Tail” theory was developed by a leading new media commentator, Chris Anderson.
He argued that products and services that have low demand or low sales volumes can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few bestsellers, if the distribution channel can reach a sufficiently large audience.
Whilst the underlying principles of this theory have been known for hundreds of years, ‘The Long Tail’ specifically looks at how the internet as a distribution channel is making the tail longer and thicker and is creating many new opportunities that did not exist before.
The internet enables many more specialist products and services to reach sufficiently large audiences than was possible before. The cost of marketing has been reduced to a level that enables anyone to potentially enter the market and reach an audience spread across that world.
The Long Tail theory is highly relevant to SubHub and their customers for two reasons:
#1 – SubHub enables individuals or organisations with highly specialist interests to set up a way to sell their knowledge and expertise. The internet enables these specialist sites to reach a large enough audience to make them profitable businesses. The combination of SubHub and internet distribution opens up the specialist information publishing market to thousands of experts, authors, niche publishers, etc., who would not have been able to create viable businesses a few years ago.
#2 – The internet enables specialist publishers to segment the markets dominated by large publishers. For example, the readership of a Fishing Magazine is made up of many fishermen who have a specialist interest in just one fishing discipline – fly fishing, coarse fishing, deep sea fishing, etc. Each of these specialisations can be segmented further, for example “Fly Fishing for Atlantic Salmon in Scotland” . A subscription website can create a good living for an individual expert with just 1,000 subscribers.
The opportunity for more ambitious publishers is unlimited. One website that is focused on equal opportunity employment has over 82,000 subscribers paying $4.95 a month. This provides annual revenues of over $5m to the team who run the site.
Subscription websites can be lifestyle businesses for individuals, additions to an existing business or developed into large publishing businesses.
SubHub is a provider that enables individuals and organisations to become part of The Long Tail of the publishing industry.