Zero sum game

According to the Financial Times Lexicon, a zero sum game has the following definition.

“An economic transaction in which whatever is gained by one party must be lost by the other.”

To put it another way, in a zero sum game if the total gains of the participants are added up, and the total losses subtracted, they will sum to zero. Many have applied the zero sum concept to industries.

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The Long Tail

In his book ‘The Long Tail’, Chris Anderson describes a cultural shift in how we purchase products and consume content. To kick off, Anderson describes the era of scarcity.

“An average movie theatre will not show a film unless it can attract at least 1,500 people over a two-week run. That’s essentially the rent for a screen. An average record store needs to sell at least four copies of a CD per year to make it worth carrying; that’s the rent for a half inch of shelf space. And so on, for DVD rental shops, video-game stores, booksellers, and newsstands.”

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