It’s now second nature to think that the top 1% of media account for an overwhelming percentage of overall sales. But how many people actually consume content from the more obscure parts of Netflix’s catalog? Sharad and Co. at Yahoo! Research just released the results of some research looking at how users fit into long-tail distributions of content.
The results? “85% of Netflix users and 95% of Yahoo! Music users have ventured into the tail (i.e., consumed items not available in large, brick-and-mortar retailers), and 40% of Netflix users and 70% of Yahoo! Music users regularly consume tail items.” The distributions above show how many users in a given system will be satisfied when you only include the top items in a given catalog. People’s web browsing may be more obscure than their music tastes, but in both cases a media provider needs to maintain a significant catalog to afford the tastes of their audience.
For social media practitioners, this is a great indicator of how much content you need to reach a mainstream audience. For music you’re going to need over 60% of the entire music catalog (or at least Yahoo!’s), and for search, well, I wouldn’t go there.