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That something is the almost but not quite popular content that occupies the middle ground between blockbusters and niches.
Last year 610 films were released in America, up from 471 in 1999.
Yet the ever-increasing supply of content tailored to every taste seems not to have dented the appeal of the blockbuster. This is not what was predicted by one of the most influential business books of the past few years.
In “The Long Tail”, Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of ), argued that demand for media was moving inexorably from the head of the distribution curve to the tail.
Less popular shows—fairly funny sitcoms and cheap reality programmes such as “COPS”—suffered far worse.
Indeed, the further you look down the prime-time rankings, the more audiences have eroded (see chart 1).