Harvard Study Refutes Long Tail Theory

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Harvard Study Refutes Long Tail Theory

Two years ago a book was published that stated the Internet would turn inventory management and planning around. No-longer constrained by bricks and mortar, consumer consumption of goods would change. The internet brings about a new consequence: consumption patterns will change, and “hits” will shift to “misses.” Misses according to the book, “The Long Tail Theory” would become more profitable.

Now a new study that derived data from web sites says it isn’t so. The most popular items online are just as important than they are offline. The study was based on selected video and music eCommerce web sites.

Harvard associate professor Anita Elberse has penned a long article for the Harvard Business Review that used data from Rhapsody and Australian DVD-by-mail distributor Quickflix to demonstrate that rather than the Internet enabling a “long tail” of niche media which publishers should embrace, the blockbuster strategy is still what pays dividends for content producers. In other words, Elberse argues that media is still a hits business, and that the Internet is not necessarily the democratizing force The Long Tail author Chris Anderson says it is. Anderson says that Elberse’s analysis isn’t wrong, per se, just that they disagree on exactly what the “head” and “tail” mean. Except that Elberse worked with Anderson on researching his book, so one imagines the Wired magazine editor explained it thoroughly. Funny, it’s as though two different people analyzing the same data have come to entirely different conclusions about the “truth.”

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By | 2017-05-04T04:07:16+00:00 July 8th, 2008|eCommerce, Harvard, Long Tail Paradox, The Long Tail|0 Comments

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Michael is Managing Partner & CEO of No World Borders, a leading health care management and IT consulting firm. He leads a team that provides Cybersecurity best practices for healthcare clients, ICD-10 Consulting, Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records. He advises legal teams as an expert witness in HIPAA Privacy and Security, medical coding and billing and usual and customary cost of care, the Affordable Care Act and benefits enrollment, white collar crime, False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback, Stark Law, Insurance Fraud, payor-provider disputes, and consults to venture capital and private equity firms on mHealth, Cloud Computing in Healthcare, and Software as a Service. He advises self-insured employers on cost of care and regulations. Arrigo was recently retained by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding a significant false claims act investigation. He has provided opinions on over $1 billion in health care claims and due diligence on over $4 billion in healthcare mergers and acquisitions. Education: UC Irvine - Economics and Computer Science, University of Southern California - Business, Stanford Medical School - Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Law School - Bioethics.
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