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YouTubers Balancing the Paradox of Novelty and Conformity

Abstract

The categorical imperative suggests that since the audience devalues offerings that do not fit within a category, producers should follow conventions to gain legitimacy. This poses a paradox of optimal distinctiveness to entrepreneurs driven by novelty. However, the extant research assumes homogeneous audience and crisp boundaries of the categories in which the entrepreneurs operate. We test these assumptions in a context with multiple audiences and fuzzy categories. By analyzing 208,136 videos of 283 YouTubers nominated for the “Streamys” – prestigious awards in online video – and correcting for endogeneity, we find that novelty is less likely to win an award, but is liked more by its regular platform audience. However, the negative evaluations of the jury audience towards novelty are moderate in fuzzier categories while the regular audience likes novelty more in well- defined categories. Further, we find that winning of Streamys gives YouTubers a status- boost to be more novel in the future. Our results inform firms and entrepreneurs about how they can position themselves to augment their value among audiences."

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Author Community

[Malik, Sumeet] IE Business School

[Rathee, Chandrika] IE Business School Madrid

[Wang, Taiyuan] China Europe International Business School


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ISSN:0065-0668

Year:2020

Issue:1

Volume:2020

Language:English

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