Long Tails and magazines

Chris Anderson is the author of the most discussed business book of the moment. The book is short, it is stimulating and the author waves his theory energetically so that it smacks almost anything you care to think about: The Long Tail.

He is also the editor of Wired magazine and there is a very intriguing interview with him about the implications of his theory for the magazine industry here.

There is much of interest in the interview. This paragraph shows Anderson lassooing a key thought with his flexible tail:

The old model of media is all about freshness while yesterday’s news is fishwrap. The new model of media relevance is determined by the community. It matters less and less what’s on your front page. What matters is what’s struck a chord, and what strikes a chord sees people linking to stories. A study recently showed that half the traffic to Web sites is after 36 hours. The old model of newspapers was that 100 percent of their readership is within first 36 hours and zero after that. The extraordinary interest in things we previously discounted, like archives, is the real lesson of the search and blog traffic era.

That fact has radical implications for the industry. Archives are MUCH more valuable than anybody realises. Much more interesting too! More interesting when they are accessible and valuable when they are interesting.