Pop Culture


I got pulled in by @pokemama’s anime article, and it got me thinking about the role of the internet in the popularity explosion. I spend a lot of time thinking about personalization at my day job, and it’s the internet that allows this. For anime, is streaming video the technology that allowed the anime hoards to storm the battlements of broadcast media? How does the niche discover itself?

I’ll try forking the project to see if there’s anything to it. Any thoughts out there on data sources for testing the idea on anime? Other specialty areas that might have also benefited from this kind of effect?


@rsharp and @pokemama.

Possibly subtitles might be trackable. Imdb location cross indexed with Netflix library. I do like the broader personalization fork idea.


Google trends might be a way to establish a relative relationship between standard (?) and niche topics.


And while the internet allows you to personalize your experience by hand, there’s the big problem of discovery. What are the unknown unknowns, err, so to speak.


The slightly tricky part about standard v. niche is that you’ll have to come up with a generally accepted difference.

The thing about the Internet is not just that it lets you personalize your entertainment; it lets you personalize everything you see, what information you are even aware of. If you do your project, I’ll fork its political consequences (more polarization than I’d everyone’s watching the same 6 o clock news) as a follow-on. There’s a fair amount of social psychology literature out there about political discussions on the internet leading to readers doing 2 things:

  1. Reinforce pre-existing views through surrounding themselves with like-minded people exclusively.
  2. Reinforce pre-existing views through getting angry by looking at extreme opposite views (real, live straw men).

Either ways, increased choice in consumption of information, increased personalization of it, seems to lead to people ignoring the limnal cases and gradients of political possibility.


@rsharp, an interesting subcategory of niche entertainment just occurred to me: periodic entertainment.

Politics, almost all Olympic sports, and (in the US) soccer are all pretty under-the-radar-but-very-present for 3 out of every 4 years. Then, for the other period, boom, you hear about nothing else.


@pzed: definitely – periodic niche is very much like time sensitive relevance, which the search engine folks know a lot about. What do you mean by “US open”? Let me check, ah – it’s November, only a couple months past Wawrinka’s thrilling win over Djokovic and hot on the heels of A. Murray’s ascent to #1: it’s tennis time, baby (use your best Dicky V. voice for that one). We’ll need to wait for June if you want that golf thingy.

More interesting will be to see if we can pick up on any of this stuff in the movie data. It moves at a glacial pace compared to search relevance, but producers (including pols with new books to push) definitely get on the calendar to promote this stuff. Does Netflix follow through?


@rsharp fun example of two events with two different meanings but the same name, there.

As far as promotion goes, from my experience, there’s often a big push around three times: trailer drop a few months out, 2 weeks before release (approx), and right around DVD release time. It’s when reviewers get mailed screening copies so they can get hyperbolic quotes from “the movie critics are raving about.” However, I have no specific information of how Netflix deals with these moments, or if Netflix actually promotes content that it picks up so people will watch it (other than the “you may also like” part of the interface). Exception: in-house productions, which Netflix most certainly promotes the hell out of.

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