Friday, March 30, 2007

The economy of videos

Here's an old Franco Moretti essay I just came across in the New Left Review, in which the renowned comp. lit. professor and the students in his seminar survey the content of video stores in rich and working class New York City. Not surprisingly, wealthy New York stores have more selection; what's interesting to Moretti is that stores with smaller markets do not simply have less of each genre, but instead provide fewer genres, choosing to appeal to the lowest common denominator. What is somewhat odd, however, is that Blockbuster, a video chain all over Manhattan, seems to use the same marketing strategies as video stores in Harlem or the Bronx. Strange as this may seem, Moretti points out that this is what we get from a globalized culture, in which the market no longer needs to appeal to niches.

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