Slivercasting = the showing of specialized TV programs on the internet
Coined in the New York Times, in an article that reviews mostly commercial initiatives. We found this reference in an excellent overview by Dan Gillmor on video journalism.
“Perhaps more interesting â€” and, arguably, more important â€” are the thousands of producers whose programming would never make it into prime time but who have very dedicated small audiences. ”’It’s a phenomenon that could be called slivercasting.”’
In 2004, Wired magazine popularized the phrase “the long tail” to refer to the large number of specialized offerings that in themselves appeal to a small number of people, but cumulatively represent a large market that can be easily aggregated on the Internet. Plotted on a graph along with best sellers, these specialized products trail off like a long tail that never reaches zero.
Indeed, the Internet’s ability to offer an almost infinite selection is part of what makes it so appealing: people can find things that don’t sell well enough to warrant shelf space in a neighborhood music store or video rental shop â€” think of the obscure books on Amazon.com. The ease of digital video production and the ubiquity of high-speed Internet connections are sending the long tail of video into the living rooms of the world, live and in color.
“The next wave of media is to unleash the power of serving people’s special interests,” said John Hendricks, the chief executive of Discovery Communications, which is developing a series of specialized video services. “Every time I walk into a Borders bookstore, I spend a lot of time looking at the magazine rack â€” because staring at you are all the passions of America. The bride who is about to get married, there is a magazine for her. And for the person who is a little older, there are wonderful travel and leisure magazines.”
Already, there are specialized video services serving hundreds of specialties, including poker, bicycling, lacrosse, photography, vegetarian cooking, fine wine, horror films, obscure sitcoms and Japanese anime. There is also a growing market for Webcasts of local news and entertainment from every country and in every language, aimed at expatriates.”