online content

The long tail gets interesting

December 15, 2009: 9:00 AM ET

Can media companies thrive online by reaching the right people at the right time?

By Ramana Rao, Co-founder and CEO, iCurrent

Rao sees opportunity in tracking online readers' interests. Photo: iCurrent

Amid the sturm and drang of traditional publishers squaring off against Google (GOOG) and others in a game of high-stakes business, it's easy to lose sight of the opportunity the Internet offers for a much more satisfying news and information experience.    Although resolving new models for content production and distribution is important,  the even bigger story will ultimately be about how the industry produces new experiences that are more personally relevant while retaining many of the values we so appreciate in traditional media.

This story requires a new lens.  In his influential 2006 book, The Long Tail, Chris Anderson paints the picture of how the Internet is turning us "from a mass market back into a niche nation, defined now not by our geography but by interests."   Yet the book doesn't quite explain the elusive concept of interests and this is critical to understanding what's ahead. More

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