Pierre-Jean BENGHOZI, Françoise BENHAMOU
In 2004, the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, Chris Anderson, first made the assumption that the internet was bringing together scattered markets for cultural products which had never hitherto been lucrative, due to their narrow market appeal. With sales of these products thus aggregated, he argued, they were now becoming profitable. Referred to as the Long Tail, this assumption proved persuasive and opened up new prospects for cultural-goods markets, promoting the idea that online sales could potentially increase cultural diversity. This article examines the initial research on the Long Tail assumption, drawing on the results of published academic works and two as-yet unpublished studies. The authors emphasize that, despite the appeal of this argument, the data only partially back up Chris Anderson’s assumption.