Discontinuous Diffusion of User-Generated Content
This research investigates the discontinuous diffusion process
associated with User Generated Content (UGC). Specifically, we
examine the daily views for a sample of videos posted on YouTube. We
assume that the audience for each video is drawn from two segments
that represent the initial poster’s segment and a secondary
diffusion segment. The UGC spreads within each segment according to
segment-specific Weibull diffusion processes and across segments
according to a stochastic process that allows the second segment to
begin its diffusion process at a later point in time.
Our results indicate that UGC’s diffusion in many cases is discontinuous, and the secondary diffusion segment, on average, begins its adoption process significantly later than the initial segment. We also examine two factors that may impact diffusion and diffusion discontinuity: seeding and content. We find that while seeding through posters who have large observe network sizes (such as subscribers or friends) may generate more immediate viewership, seeding through posters who have large, unobserved network sizes (individuals who are connected to the poster but unobservable), relative to the secondary segment, reduces diffusion discontinuity. In addition, we find that the magnitude of discontinuity varies across video content. Furthermore, we provide managers with a methodology to forecast the timing of discontinuity.
Full Citation: Zhang, Yuchi and Wendy W. Moe (2012) "Discontinuous Diffusion of User-Generated Content," Working Paper.
Paper available: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1984622
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