Abstract and Figures

Video content creation by “amateur” private users has taken on professional (i.e. work) characteristics. The emergence of user-centric video sharing services (e.g. YouTube, Twitch, Mixer) has set the scene for the rise of micro-celebrities and influencers making video content creation a valuable source of income. The development of occupational and commercial elements within the activity has gained a significant amount of attention from the mainstream media but also from academic research. This paper presents a literature review that aims to examine the nature of the available literature (75 articles) on the occupational characteristics of video content creation. The literature review examines the development of research and terminology of this topic, the theoretical and conceptual frameworks utilized in the examined research, and how the elements of work have been examined and perceived in the examined literature. The results reveal an ongoing development of entrepreneurial aspects in the activity and highlight the need for further research on video content creation in a work context.
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Electronic Commerce Research and Applications 46 (2021) 101027
Available online 24 December 2020
1567-4223/© 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Streamers: the new wave of digital entrepreneurship? Extant corpus and
research agenda
Maria T¨
, Johann Giertz
, Welf H. Weiger
, Juho Hamari
Gamication Group, Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, Finland
Department of Marketing and E-Business, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Goettingen, 37073, Germany
College of Business, Alfaisal University, P.O. Box 50927, Riyadh 11533, Saudi Arabia
Gamication Group, Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, Finland
Digital economy
Video content creation by amateur private users has taken on professional (i.e. work) characteristics. The
emergence of user-centric video sharing services (e.g. YouTube, Twitch, Mixer) has set the scene for the rise of
micro-celebrities and inuencers making video content creation a valuable source of income. The development of
occupational and commercial elements within the activity has gained a signicant amount of attention from the
mainstream media but also from academic research. This paper presents a literature review that aims to examine
the nature of the available literature (75 articles) on the occupational characteristics of video content creation.
The literature review examines the development of research and terminology of this topic, the theoretical and
conceptual frameworks utilized in the examined research, and how the elements of work have been examined
and perceived in the examined literature. The results reveal an ongoing development of entrepreneurial aspects
in the activity and highlight the need for further research on video content creation in a work context.
1. Introduction
The pervasive growth of information and communications technol-
ogy fuels the convergence of work and leisure. The development of
digital economies (e.g. sharing economy, platform economy), digital
environments (e.g. virtual worlds and games) and the digital collabo-
rative culture (e.g. social media and participatory culture) has enabled
the rise of entrepreneurial-like content creation and distribution
through digital platforms. Consequently, work and occupational life is
becoming more game-like (i.e. gamication) (Huotari and Hamari,
2017; Vesa et al., 2017), while leisure activities start to take on work-
like characteristics where work and play are transforming into a
hybrid form, frequently coined as playbour (Fuchs, 2014; Kücklich,
2005) or digital labour (Fuchs, 2014; Kücklich, 2005; Scholz, 2012;
Terranova, 2000).
Amateurvideo content creation by private individuals (such as in
YouTube and Twitch) has become a popular area of such forms of hybrid
entrepreneurship, which is afforded by digital platforms that have
become characterized by their long-tail nature (Anderson, 2006) and
provide legitimate business opportunities for these amateur individuals
(Tassi, 2018). The production and distribution of this type of asyn-
chronous (pre-recorded video) and synchronous video content (live
video content) became a popular co-creative activity for private amateur
individuals through the emergence of dedicated video sharing platforms
such as YouTube in the late 00s. YouTube as a platform provided a way
for individuals to express themselves through (asynchronous, pre-
recorded) video formats and offered social recognition through the
platform. With the development of YouTube advertising in 2010, the
content creators were granted access to advertising revenue, which
allowed the activity to begin to develop more professionalized features.
Further developments of synchronous live streaming technology and
innovative streaming and video sharing services such as Twitch and
Mixer, have enhanced the professionalization and revenue potential for
content creators through dedicated support/partner programs and sys-
tems. This has generated a global phenomenon around digital video
content and nurtured the development of professionalized video content
creator culture, as one of the most advanced manifestation of playbour
(Fuchs, 2014; Kücklich, 2005).
Income generated from video content creation is typically a combi-
nation of different revenue streams derived from platform-specic
* Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: maria.torhonen@tuni. (M. T¨
onen), jgiertz@uni-goettingen.de (J. Giertz), wweiger@alfaisal.edu (W.H. Weiger), juho.hamari@tuni.
(J. Hamari).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Electronic Commerce Research and Applications
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/elerap
Received 19 May 2020; Received in revised form 7 December 2020; Accepted 21 December 2020
Electronic Commerce Research and Applications 46 (2021) 101027
monetization services, external partnerships and collaborations, poten-
tial merchandise sales and cross-platform content syndication and
interaction (Rose, 2019). The platform-specic monetization structures
are one of the main sources of income for video content creators and
have become more and more versatile during the last decade. Most of
these revenue sources are made accessible through different forms of
partnership and afliate programs, which are based on a contractual
exchange between the creator and the platform. For example, Twitch
provides two different forms of collaboration for their creators, the
afliate program (lower-level access to revenue and services) and
partnership program (higher-level access to revenue and services). Ac-
cess to these programs is based on specic visibility, viewer engagement
and activity metrics on the platform, and in Twitch is heavily gamied to
incentivize creators to develop their presence and retain them on the
platform (Siutila, 2018; Twitch, 2020). Most platform-specic partner-
ship programs offer variations of similar revenue sources including,
advertising revenue share, donations, and subscription services.
Advertising revenue share is derived from ad placements during the
creators content delivery, donations are either hard currency or virtual
currency gifts from viewers and subscription share is derived from
different types of subscription packages provided by the platform and
the creator.
In addition to platform provided revenue streams, video content
creators also increasingly take on the role as a spokesperson for different
brands (Lancaster, 2018), and generate additional revenue through
sponsorships, endorsements, and other means of brand collaborations as
another prevalent commercial aspect of video content creation. Video
content creators may generate these opportunities on their own, which
requires signicant entrepreneurial effort, or they can join a multi-
channel network, that represents content creators and establishes, e.g.
commercial collaborations, for them (Kozlowski, 2013). Content crea-
tors also sell merchandise related to their activities and have begun to
further utilize cross-platform interaction to develop a level of digital
celebrity, also known as micro-celebrityor inuencer culture
(Khamis et al., 2017), by utilizing other social media platforms such as
Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat etc. to build a community and to further
monetize their content creation (Aleti et al., 2019). However, the
increasing occupational elements of such activities are still not
acknowledged as legitimate forms of work, regardless of the increasing
media coverage of issues related to the entrepreneurial aspects of this
activity such as increasing fatigue and mental health issues related to
work load as well as fame and fortune resulting from engaging in such
activities (Parkin, 2018). Indeed, extraordinarily little support and
organizational structures are provided for content creators at large.
These elements of commercialisation, merged with the hedonistic
and expressive nature and background of these activities, make this form
of playbour highly strategic and entrepreneurial at its core, but at the
same time emphazises the elements of commodication of the activities
and individuals, resulting from the multitude of different revenue
models available. This dichotomy between creative entrepreneurial
work (Banks and Deuze, 2009; Bruns, 2009; Fish and Srinivasan, 2012;
Senft, 2009) and commodifying labour (Postigo, 2016; Scholz, 2012;
Smythe, 1977; Terranova, 2000; Van Dijck, 2009) has been a topic of
debate around digital content creation for numerous years and high-
lights the complex nature of hybrid work, where labour and leisure
Video content creation represents a novel hybrid form of work and
play that has been enabled by developments of digital technology as well
as trends in culture, economy, and society. It represents the most pop-
ular manifestation of playbour, which warrants the need for a thorough
understanding how it may act as legitimate forms of work/profession
and for further investigation into its current established forms and
structures. To increase the knowledge about this complex phenomenon
and the merger of work and play involved, this systematic literature
review will examine existing literature (75 papers) highlighting occu-
pational, commercial or strategic aspects of this activity, and analyse the
elements and structures of work and labour emerging from the reviewed
sources. The research will aim to provide an overview of the available
literature on this subject and the nature of the collected literature. By
examining the types of sources and literature included in the data of the
paper (research interest, domain of research) and the associated termi-
nology utilized in the examined literature, this research will aim to
provide an answer to the following research questions:
RQ1: How has the research on the occupational elements of video
content creation developed?
RQ2: How are the occupational elements of video content creation
evident in the development of associated terminology?
The associated terminology as well as the associated denitions will
be analysed for nuances of work and occupational developments. The
terminology was selected for the analysis, as it is considered a reection
of the conceptual organization of a special subject as well as a necessary
medium of expression and professional communication (Cabre, 1989).
Therefore, the terminology could provide information about the current
framing of the activity as work, but also reveal if the already established
terminology for this activity is associated with the occupational aspects
and developments of the activity.
The theoretical frameworks and outcomes of each examined paper
were also analysed in order to examine the framing of this activity as
work and the types of theoretical and conceptual foundations that may
have been used to examine elements of work within video content cre-
ation. The outcomes of the sources were categorized and analysed, and
the perception of the activity as creative entrepreneurial work or as
commodifying labour was examined to answer the following research
RQ3: What theoretical frameworks have been utilized in the exam-
ination of video content creation as an occupational activity?
RQ4: How are the occupational activities related to video content
creation perceived within the examined literature in relation to the
discussion of the activity as exploitative work or as an entrepreneurial
form of creative labour?
A further understanding of the development of the professional
practices, socio-economic relationships and innovative services related
to video content creation provide valuable information about the pro-
cesses and motivations behind this form of digital labour where the el-
ements of leisure and work collide, and where the likelihood of stability
and success are still relatively small. These insights could legitimize and
provide structure for video content creation as a digital profession and
extend our understanding of modern work and the contrasting processes
related to the transformation of work such as gamication.
2. The review & methods
2.1. The review procedure
As the development of video content creation has largely been
labelled by technology and popular global platforms, there is a lot of
fragmentation in the terminology used to depict the activity. Most
common terminology seems to be associated with specic processes or
activities (e.g. delivery of asynchronous or synchronous video content)
and specic platforms or content types (YouTuber, vlogger etc.) and the
existing knowledge of the terminology associated with this activity was
Table 1
Terminology associated with video content creation.
video content
video content
video content
video content
Vlogger Vlogging Live streamer Live
YouTuber Streamer Streaming
M. T¨
onen et al.
Electronic Commerce Research and Applications 46 (2021) 101027
used to develop the search string for this literature review. In order to
depict the commercial or professionalised aspects of this activity, the
researchers also utilized the term inuenceras a more commonly used
term associated with strategic and commercial aspects of digital content
creation (Khamis et al., 2017). The terms identied for the literature
review, can be found from Table 1 below.
This literature review was conducted as a combination of a scoping
review (Par´
e et al., 2015) and a theoretical review (Par´
e et al., 2015), in
order to gain further insight into the research questions of this study and
collect a representative sample for the analysis. A scoping review is
primarily used to gain further insight into the nature and range of
research on a specic topic (Par´
e et al., 2015). The utilization of the
scoping review process allowed the researchers to gain an understanding
of the current extent of research on this topic as well as the nature of the
research. The scoping review process was utilized to answer RQs 1, 2
and 4. In order to extend the review, the scoping review was combined
with elements of a theoretical review, to answer RQ 3. The theoretical
review processes allowed the research team to identify, and analyse
relevant theoretical frameworks within the texts (Par´
e et al., 2015) and
extend the understanding of the topic based on them. The search for
relevant literature was conducted using the identied search words
(Table 1) on the title, abstract, keywords and full text, in order to gather
an extensive sample of relevant literature. The search words were used
to perform queries using the Scopus notation and the following search
string for the data collection: ((ALL (streamer) OR ALL (youtuber) OR
ALL (vlogger) OR ALL (inuencer)) AND (ALL (twitch) OR ALL (you-
tube))). The search string development proved challenging due to the
dispersed terminology associated with the activity, as well as the hom-
onymous nature of specic terms such as stream*and Twitch. Some
of these homonymous terms and more generic terms such as livehad
to be either removed from the string or further specied, in order to
gather more relevant results for the topic of this research. In the end, the
terms Twitchand YouTubewere utilized as identiers in the search
string to specify relevant sources to the topic. The Scopus database was
selected to be used in this literature review, as it offers a comprehensive
abstract and citation database of international peer-reviewed resources.
This allowed the researchers to focus on one database with extended
coverage rather than numerous more specialized databases.
The initial search identied 893 sources, of which 126 were selected
for further review based on their title and abstract. The title and abstract
had to reect a commercial or occupational association to video content
creation or structures that support the commercial or occupational
development of video content creators (e.g. viewer engagement prac-
tices). These sources were further examined using a pre-determined
selection criterion (peer-reviewed papers in an international publica-
tion, available in English, focusing on the occupational activities/as-
pects of private video content creators) and a nal sample of 84 sources
were identied for further analysis. During the nal review of sources, 9
Fig. 1. Flowchart of the analysis process.
Fig. 2. The comparison of amount of publications per year and Twitch partners per year, and the corresponding trendlines.
M. T¨
onen et al.
Electronic Commerce Research and Applications 46 (2021) 101027
papers were also removed as they were not full articles. The full review
process can be seen in Fig. 1.
Each source was reviewed and coded by the members of the research
team based on pre-determined units, which consisted of bibliometric
identiers (Authors, Title, Year, Source title, Volume, Issue, Art. No. and
Abstract), paper type units (empirical/non-empirical paper, method,
theoretical/conceptual framework), and topic or outcome specic units
(domain of research, theme of outcome). Each article was also reviewed
individually for common terms used to describe the activity of video
content creation and the denitions for the content creator or the con-
tent creation activities. The analysis of terms and denitions was con-
ducted using mixed methods, by combining more quantitative data
analysis and content analysis (Bryman, 2012; Shelley and Krippendorff,
1984) to identify emerging themes and connections.
3. Results
3.1. Research interest
This section responds to RQ1 (How has the research on the occupa-
tional elements of video content creation developed?). The research interest
related to video content creation has developed signicantly during the
last decade, with signicant growth in the number of relevant publica-
tions appearing after 2014 and continuing to signal positive growth, as
seen in the trendline for relevant publications per year in Fig. 2.
The increase in publications per year can be seen to follow a similar
Table 2
Type of studies analysed.
Non-Empirical papers N =9
(Berryman and Kavka, 2017; Brownlee, 2016; Cunningham and Craig, 2017; Jerslev, 2016; Keating, 2013; Partin, 2019; Raun, 2018; Wang et al., 2019; Zhao,
Quantitative Qualitative Mixed Method
Papers N Papers N Papers N
Survey data (Chen and Lin, 2018; Gerhards, 2019; Gros et al.,
2017; Lee and Watkins, 2016; Lee et al., 2019;
Lessel et al., 2018; Liu et al., 2019; Munnukka
et al., 2019; Rihl and Wegener, 2019; Sj¨
oblom and
Hamari, 2017; T¨
onen et al., 2019; Xiao et al.,
2018; Zhao et al., 2018; Zhou et al., 2019)
14 0 (Biel and Gatica-Perez, 2013; Hou
et al., 2019; Lu et al., 2018; Tang
et al., 2016; Wohn et al., 2018)
Platform data (Arnett et al., 2019; Churchill and Xu, 2016; Jia
et al., 2018; Kaytoue et al., 2012; Koch et al.,
2018; Tu et al., 2018; Wattenhofer et al., 2012;
Zhu et al., 2017)
8 0 (Ashman et al., 2018; McRoberts
et al., 2016)
Interview data 0 (Boxman-Shabtai, 2019; Johnson, 2019; Johnson
and Woodcock, 2019a, 2019b; Li et al., 2018;
Martínez and Olsson, 2019; Wang, 2020;
Woodcock and Johnson, 2019)
8 (Bishop, 2019; Cunningham et al.,
2019; Friedl¨
ander, 2017; Hou
et al., 2019; Lu et al., 2018; Tang
et al., 2016)
Video content (Aran et al., 2014; Ferchaud et al., 2018;
Fietkiewicz et al., 2018)
3 (Beers F¨
agersten, 2017; García-Rapp, 2017,
2016; Garcia-Rapp and Roc-Cuberes, 2017;
Harley and Fitzpatrick, 2009; Hou, 2019; Jorge
et al., 2018; Mardon et al., 2018; Nicoll and
Nansen, 2018; Postigo, 2016; Scolari and
Fraticelli, 2019; Wotanis and McMillan, 2014)
12 (Bhatia, 2018; Biel and Gatica-
Perez, 2013; Friedl¨
ander, 2017;
McRoberts et al., 2016)
oblom et al., 2019; Yu et al., 2018) 2 (Faas et al., 2018; Garcia-Rapp and Roc-Cuberes,
2017; Guarriello, 2019; Hou, 2019; Johnson,
2019; Johnson and Woodcock, 2019b; Postigo,
2016; Wang, 2020; Woodcock and Johnson,
2019; Zhang and Hjorth, 2019; Zimmer, 2018)
11 (Ashman et al., 2018; Bishop,
2019; Friedl¨
ander, 2017)
Other digital
0 (Cullen and Ruberg, 2019; Deller and Murphy,
2020; Garcia-Rapp and Roc-Cuberes, 2017; Hou,
2019; Pellicone and Ahn, 2017; Postigo, 2016;
Scolari and Fraticelli, 2019; Siutila, 2018;
Wotanis and McMillan, 2014)
9 (Bhatia, 2018; Bishop, 2019;
Cunningham et al., 2019;
ander, 2017)
Table 3
Domains of research.
Domain Total of studies % Empirical studies % Non-empirical studies %
Behaviour & interaction 18 24 18 27.3 0 0
Media production content practices and performance 18 24 15 22.7 3 33.3
Celebrity/popularity in video content creation 12 16 10 15.2 2 22.2
Work/entrepreneurship 7 9.3 5 7.6 2 22.2
Digital media - formats & structure 6 8 6 9.1 0 0
Commercial effects (branding & advertising/marketing) 6 8 6 9.1 0 0
Online communities 4 5.3 3 4.5 1 11.1
Economy & industries 4 5.3 3 4.5 1 11.1
M. T¨
onen et al.
Electronic Commerce Research and Applications 46 (2021) 101027
trend to the development of professionalised aspects of video content
creation, which is highlighted in Fig. 2, through the examination of
growth in Twitch partners per year (Twitch Tracker, 2020). Annual
growth in the number of publications related to occupational aspect of
video content creation and the growth in the number of Twitch partners
indicate a similar trend in the development of the phenomenon, but it
should be noted that the increase in research interest may also reect the
slight lag associated with academic publishing.
The examined research articles were mostly based on empirical ev-
idence as seen in Table 2, and the non-empirical papers were primarily
conceptual papers, focusing on larger concepts (e.g. celebrity, economy)
through specic examples/cases and themes, or papers developing
frameworks or models, but with no clear empirical data. A full list of
publications and their details can be found in Table A1. The empirical
articles examined in our review were primarily based on survey data,
platform-specic data collected through APIs and video content anal-
ysis. Interviews, other digital content analysis (e.g. forums, prole
pages), and observations/ethnography were also popular data in the
examined publications. It should be noted that some publications
examined more than one data set, which is reected in Table 2. All
empirical and non-empirical papers were included in the further anal-
ysis due to their relevance to the topic of this research.
Each paper was also categorized based on the research domain of the
focal/underlying topic and its relation to the phenomenon of video
content creation as seen in Table 3. Most empirical research articles
examined behaviour or psychology behind activities related to video
content creation. Such papers either examined the behaviour of the
video content creators themselves such as motivation (Gros et al., 2017;
Hou et al., 2019; Sj¨
oblom and Hamari, 2017; T¨
onen et al., 2019;
Zhao et al., 2018; Zimmer, 2018), or the interaction and behaviour of
Fig. 3. Number of terms for content creator and content creation per year displayed in columns and yearly growth of publications examined on the trendline.
Table 4
Terminology frequency.
Terminology Synchronous Frequency Terminology Asynchronous Frequency Terminology Both/unidentied Frequency
Terminology content creator
Streamer 24 Vlogger 18 Streamer 5
Broadcaster 10 YouTuber 17 YouTuber 3
Live streamer 4 YouTube Celebrity 6 Vlogger 4
Live-streamer 1 Content creator 3 Content creator 2
Livestreamer 2 YouTube creator 3 Live streamer 2
Creator 3
Uploader 2
Terminology content creation
Streaming 16 Vlogging 13 Content creation 2
Live streaming 14 Upload video 7 Live streaming 5
Broadcasting 13 Post video 4 Streaming 5
Live-streaming 6 Produce video 2 Broadcasting 2
Livestreaming 2 Upload content 2 Upload video 2
Upload vlog 2
Broadcast 2
Amateur video making 2
Video blogging 2
Produce vlog 2
M. T¨
onen et al.
Electronic Commerce Research and Applications 46 (2021) 101027
the viewer in relation to the video content creator (Lee et al., 2019;
McRoberts et al., 2016). Another major domain of research was the
media production of video content. Papers in this domain examined
themes such as the practices of video content creation (Aran et al., 2014;
Bishop, 2019; Scolari and Fraticelli, 2019; Tang et al., 2016) as well as
the performance elements (Bhatia, 2018; Wotanis and McMillan, 2014;
Zhang and Hjorth, 2019) within video content. Different digital media
formats and structures were also examined in relation to video content
creation and papers in this category primarily focused on the structures
(e.g. economy, restrictions) and elements in different video sharing
platforms (Cullen and Ruberg, 2019; Lessel et al., 2018; Postigo, 2016;
Siutila, 2018; Sj¨
oblom et al., 2019; Wattenhofer et al., 2012) or the way
in which elements such as popularity can be formed within these
structures and services (Jia et al., 2018; Koch et al., 2018).
More direct characteristics of work and occupational elements were
examined in the domain categories related to celebrity, the commercial
aspects of video content creation and work and entrepreneurship. Ce-
lebrity was examined in particular in the context of micro-celebrity and
through examination of specic examples and channels (Garcia-Rapp
and Roc-Cuberes, 2017; Jerslev, 2016; Raun, 2018; Rihl and Wegener,
2019). The commercial aspects of video content creation primarily
focused on the brand effect of video content creators (Munnukka et al.,
2019; Xiao et al., 2018) and advertising or marketing such as the value
of video content creators in advertising and marketing efforts (Gerhards,
2019; Xiao et al., 2018), whereas the papers in the work and entrepre-
neurship domain examined the value and structure of work and entre-
preneurship in video content creation.
3.2. Terminology & denitions
This section answers RQ2 (How are the occupational elements of video
content creation evident in the development of associated terminology?). For
this study, the collection and analysis of terms and associated denitions
of those terms was conducted to examine if elements of work, or the
professional structures within the activity were evident in the develop-
ment of the terminology, or within the established terminology. Ter-
minology and terms are often used to describe human activities and
possess the communicative power to organise and structure activities
and reveal relationships forming within them (Cabre, 1989). In order to
distinguish and analyse the terminology used in the scope of digital
video content creation, the papers were categorized based on the type of
content or content creation they examined (synchronous, asynchronous,
both or undened), and terminology for content creation and content
creator was collected from each paper. While some sources used
different terminology synonymously to describe the same activity or the
creator, these variations were also collected for analysis. The develop-
ment of the terminology was contrasted to the number of publications
per year and most prominent terms per year (Fig. 3). Table 4 also lists
the most frequently used terminology. The full list of analysed terms per
year can be found in Table A2.
The early terminology, as seen in Fig. 3, reects the emergence of the
activity, with lesser fragmentation in terms from 2009 to 2015. Greater
fragmentation of terminology appears with the increased research in-
terest in the topic in 2016 as clearly seen in Fig. 3. The terminology
becomes more nuanced and descriptive of synchronous technology (live
streaming) and popular platforms (YouTuber) or content (Vlogger). The
development of terminology seems to reect the increased popularity of
the term streamer (29) or streaming(21), which have also become
popular descriptive terms for video content creation in mainstream
media. Upon closer examination of the available denitions, these terms
seem to be used to describe the wider cultural context of video content
creation (Sj¨
oblom et al., 2019; Sj¨
oblom and Hamari, 2017). Other
established, specialized terms frequently examined in the reviewed
literature, are Vlogger/Vlogging (which is abbreviated from Video blog-
ger/video blogging) and YouTuber, which depict specic content types
or the use of specic platforms and have been associated with the more
established occupational content creation activities within mainstream
media (Gutelle, 2016).
The term broadcaster/broadcastingseems to be the most prominent
term within the analysis with a direct association with our previous
understanding of media work (Newby, 2006), where the term has been
used to describe a broadcast media professional or the activity of
delivering media content. In the collected data, the popularity of the
term stays consistent with the increasing fragmentation and develop-
ment of terminology, and from the occupational terms seems to be
consistently used to describe the activity of creating video content.
Based on the examination of available denitions for the terms, it seems
to also be used as a descriptive term for the activity of media content
delivery and the provider of content, for example: Unlike other social
media, the content on a live streaming platform is broadcast and viewed
synchronously. Broadcasters can broadcast their own screens and receive
live comments from viewers around the world.(Zhao et al., 2018). The
examined denitions did not reveal a connection between the occupa-
tional characteristic of this specic term and the activity of video con-
tent creation within this review.
Other occupational or commercial terms associated with the content
creator/content creation were terms reecting celebrity (YouTube ce-
lebrities), the inuencer culture (YouTube inuencer) and entrepreneur-
ship (entrepreneurial broadcasters, entrepreneurial online video creators,
entrepreneurial content creators). The inner conict of professional-
amateur work within this activity is evident with the prominence of
the term amateur (amateur lmmaker, amateur videographers, amateur
video making) and hybrid terms such as semi-professionaland amateur-
experts. The occupational nuances seem to be more evident in the ter-
minology for the content creator, also known as the professional, and the
terminology for video content creation seems more fragmented and
mechanically descriptive of the process of video content creation with
terms such as upload video, create video content, post video and produce
A further analysis of the available denitions for the terms seem to
have various ways in describing the occupational elements of this ac-
tivity, and most are associated with the commercial aspects rather than
the elements of organised work. For example, various denitions reect
the interaction with viewers and the revenue through interaction e.g. In
the live streaming platforms, online streamers can interact with viewers
via various objects like audio, video, and text, and they attract a large
scale of viewers by singing, chatting or shout-wheat. In return, every
viewer can purchase and send virtual gifts during the live process, which
is one of the most important business models in these live streaming
platforms.(Tu et al., 2018). And other denitions highlight the brands
Table 5
Theoretical and conceptual frameworks.
Theoretical framework N
Uses and Gratications theory 5
Affordance theory 2
Field theory 2
Self-Determination Theory (SDT) 2
Other theoretical frameworks and approaches:
Big ve personality traits, Social comparison theory, Genre theory, Credibility
theory, Cognitive transactional theory, Balance theory, Media richness theory,
Social presence theory, Cognitive load theory, Critical Media Industry Studies
(CMIS), Neoliberal theory (Foucauldian perspective), Moral emotions (Haidts
theory), The Unied Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT),
Self-presentation theory, Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), Flow theory
Conceptual framework N
Parasocial interactions 4
Parasocial relationships 3
Other conceptual frameworks and apporaches
Concept of persona, concept of mimesis, social support provision, affective
labour, algorithmic gossip, Hochschildts concept of emotional labour,
parasocial attributes
Note: Nine studies utilized more than two theoretical or conceptual frameworks.
M. T¨
onen et al.
Electronic Commerce Research and Applications 46 (2021) 101027
collaborations and commercial partnerships appearing in video content
Vlogger enjoys public recognition and uses this recognition on behalf of
a consumer good, service, or brand by appearing with that good, service,
or brand in a vlog post(Munnukka et al., 2019).
3.3. The theoretical and conceptual frameworks
This section responds to RQ3 (What theoretical frameworks have been
utilized in the examination of video content creation as an occupational
activity?). The examined literature presented great fragmentation in
terms of theoretical and conceptual frameworks, which could be asso-
ciated with the relatively novel and developing nature of the topic of
video content creation as a hybrid form of labour and its commercial
aspects. Only three frameworks were directly associated with elements
of labour or work (Foucauldian neoliberal theory, affective labour,
Hochschildts concept of emotional labour), which requested for a more
thorough examination and analysis of the other theoretical and con-
ceptual frameworks currently associated with the hybrid playbour
evident in video content creation.
The prevalence of behavioural and psychological research within the
examined literature was also evident in the analysis of theoretical and
conceptual frameworks and the most frequent theoretical and concep-
tual frameworks (see Table 5) primarily focused on the psychological
understanding of this phenomena or the examination of interactions and
relationships within in the activity such as parasocial interaction (PSI)
(Horton and Richard Wohl, 1956) or parasocial relationships. The
theoretical understanding of motivation was also evident in utilized
theoretical frameworks such as Uses and Gratications and Self-
determination theory. In order to investigate the type of behaviour
examined in relation to video content creation, and its association to
work, the empirical studies that utilized the most used motivation the-
ories to examine specic motivational aspects, were analysed further.
Upon further inspection (see Table 6), out of the seven papers that
examined motivation, three papers examined the motivation behind
video content creation (e.g. Task enjoyment, social interaction, enjoy-
ment etc.) and each of those papers also examined motivations related to
work (e.g. income or extrinsic reward from the activity, challenge and
skill or career development).
The rest of the examined papers focused on the viewing/consump-
tion behaviour on video content platforms and its relation to video
content creators. The examined motivational aspects examined in
viewers primarily focused on the elements that motivate further viewing
and engagement behaviour, and only one of the papers (Wohn et al.,
2018) had examined the motivation to view and endorse a video con-
tent, which would provide direct monetary value for the content creator.
3.4. The outcomes and the nature of occupational video content creation
This section responds to RQ4 (How are the occupational activities
related to video content creation perceived within the examined literature in
relation to the discussion of the activity as exploitative work or as an entre-
preneurial form of creative labour?). As discussed earlier in this paper,
digital content creation activities associated with digital economies such
as the platform economy (Andersson Schwarz, 2017) have also been
associated with commodifying or exploitative features (T. Scholz, 2012;
Smythe, 1977; Terranova, 2000), as they are often seen as freeand
afford several enjoyable/entertaining experiences, and create di-
mensions with social and communal aspects. However as the occupa-
tional elements and user centric revenue models of online platforms
develop, these activities have also been increasingly considered as novel
forms of creative work in related research (Banks and Deuze, 2009;
Fuchs, 2014; Van Dijck, 2009). As the development of this type of
framing can extend our understanding of this digital activity as work,
the outcomes of the examined sources were categorized based on their
perception of the activity as commodifying/exploitative work, as pro-
ductive creative work or as other/neutral.
Although the debate around exploitative/commodifying aspects of
digital platforms and interaction has been ongoing for the last decade
(Fuchs, 2014; Postigo, 2016; Scholz, 2012; Smythe, 1977; Terranova,
2000; Van Dijck, 2009), the development of this perspective in the
context of video content creation seems to have stabilized in the last few
years (see Table 7). From the analysed papers, ten provide outcomes
related to the exploitative nature of the activity, with three papers
highlighting issues related to commodifying the increased sense of in-
timacy generated through video content creation and the digital envi-
ronments, and three papers focus on the commercial impact of video
content creators on children or young people. The papers draw on
concepts such as affective labour (Woodcock and Johnson, 2019) and
neoliberal work (Ashman et al., 2018) but also utilize more novel con-
cepts such as parasocial intimacy (Woodcock and Johnson, 2019) and
autopreneurs (Ashman et al., 2018) to reect on the commodifying
nature of the activity.
Instead the perception of video content creation as a novel form of
creative work has gained signicant popularity over the last few years,
and signicant growth in this perception can be seen during 2019. The
examined papers in this category highlighted themes such as new forms
of celebrity, through concepts such as celebrication (Jerslev, 2016) and
Table 6
Studies examining motivation.
Paper Theoretical/
Topic of
Motivations examined
(Zhao et al.,
Video content
Challenge, Task enjoyment,
Self-presentation, Extrinsic
reward, Self-esteem, social
benets, feedback
et al.,
Video content
Relaxation, Self-expression,
Social interaction,
Altruism, Skill
development, Career
Development, Reputation,
Uses and
Video content
Information, Social
interaction, Self-
presentation (Celebrity)
(Hou et al.,
Uses and
Interactivity, Social status,
Humour, Sex appeal
Uses and
Flow, Entertainment, Social
interaction, Endorsement
Uses and
Affective (entertainment),
Cognitive (learning&
information gathering),
Personal integrative, social
integrative, tension release
(Gros et al.,
Uses and
information, socialisation
(Wohn et al.,
Social support Viewing/
Entertainment, support
(content improvement),
learning, attachment,
interaction, support (ofine
Table 7
Research outcome perspective.
Year Commodifying digital labour Neutral/other approach Creative work
n % n % n %
2019 3 30 13 28.3 11 57.9
2018 3 30 15 32.6 4 21.1
2017 1 10 7 15.2 2 10.5
2016 2 20 5 10.9 2 10.5
2014 0 0 2 4.3 0 0
2013 1 10 1 2.2 0 0
2012 0 0 2 4.3 0 0
2009 0 0 1 2.2 0 0
M. T¨
onen et al.
Electronic Commerce Research and Applications 46 (2021) 101027
micro-celebrity, and also the branding effect and role of video content
creators as unique inuencers to their audiences. The papers in this
category also examined practices and performance elements within
video content creation, as well as strategies involved in the activity. The
papers considered as neutral/other, either did not present the activity as
purely work or did not represent either of the ends of the dichotomy
between exploitative work or creative work.
The outcomes of the examined literature were also categorized based
on the underlying theme of the examined outcome and the nal cate-
gories were grouped based on their alignment to three groups: occupa-
tional/commercial/other. It should be noted that some outcomes
represented more than one thematic category, this was most prominent
in papers examining behaviour or social interaction and the effects of
those on elements such as commercial gain or popularity.
The analysis discovered numerous outcomes highlighting commer-
cial aspects and occupational strategies as seen in Table 8. The themes
presented in the occupational category primarily highlighted the
development of professional strategies and practices that could further
the occupational elements of this activity, such as incorporation stra-
tegies related to collaborations, cross platform use and algorithms
(Arnett et al., 2019; Bishop, 2019; Koch et al., 2018). Similarly, the
commercial category highlighted ndings related to the different ele-
ments enabling commercial gain from video content creation such as
platform elements and (Sj¨
oblom et al., 2019) and the impact of re-
lationships and interaction in relation to commercial gain, such as the
role of parasocial interaction and relationships on commercial gain
(Munnukka et al., 2019; Rihl and Wegener, 2019; Wohn et al., 2018;
Woodcock and Johnson, 2019).
4. Discussion
This literature review examined the existing literature on the
increasing professionalisation of video content creation (75) and the
perceptions of the activity as a form of labour or work, by analysing the
research interest, the development of terminology, theoretical and
conceptual frameworks utilized in the existing literature and the
outcomes of the literature. Although the ndings indicate a signicant
development in the research interest in this topic, they also reveal
fragmentation in the associated terminology as well as the theoretical
and conceptual frameworks utilized to examine the topic. The results
also indicate some overarching narratives, especially in relation to the
importance of social interaction and their impact on the commercial
development of the activity as well as the development of this activity as
a form of entrepreneurial work.
4.1. The development of occupational video content creation
The increasing popularity and development of amateur video con-
tent creation can be seen in the development of the research interest on
the occupational, commercial and strategic aspects of this activity. The
amount of empirical and non-empirical research papers has clearly
increased after 2016 and the research highlights an interest in the
domain of social interaction and behaviour within the activity as well as
on the media production aspects of the activity.
The terminology for video content creation was found to be frag-
mented. Moreover, the increase in publications has enhanced this
fragmentation, instead of providing clarity and structure to the terms
associated with the activity. The terminology analysis revealed various
nuanced terms related to the occupational and commercial aspects of the
activity (e.g. celebrity, entrepreneurship, amateur content production)
and the ndings seem to indicate an ongoing development of termi-
nology for this nascent phenomenon, which may be associated with the
emergent nature of this activity and the occupational aspects associated
with it.
However, the ndings yield interesting observations about the cul-
ture of occupational video content creation, by underlining the devel-
opment of a hybrid form of work and play in terms mixing the amateur
and professionalelements e.g. semi-professionaland amateur-ex-
perts. The fragmentation and overlap of terminology for video content
creation as a leisure activity and the more occupational aspects of video
content creation may point to a certain trade-off between work and
leisure terminologies. This suggests the way future hybrid forms of work
may be represented but may also lead to issues in recognizing the ac-
tivity as more legitimate form of work, or the lack of necessary visibility
and support for the occupational sides of the activity, which may lead to
issues related to work life balance (Parkin, 2018).
4.2. The commercial agenda within video content creation
The analysis of theoretical frameworks utilized to examine the
occupational and commercial elements of video content creation within
the examined sources, also revealed fragmentation in the development
of more theoretical and conceptual understanding of this activity and a
lack of theoretical and conceptual frameworks directly related to the
examination of occupational structures and elements within this activ-
ity. Similarly, as in the research domains, most theoretical and con-
ceptual frameworks emphazised the analysis of behaviours and social
interactions within video content creation, which were also evident in
the outcomes of the examined sources. However, a deeper analysis of the
use of the theoretical frameworks and the outcomes of the sources
revealed commercial and occupational implications and uses.
Analysing the motivational theories used in the sources revealed that
most of those papers examined some occupational elements as motiva-
tions to generate video content. Similarly, papers using the conceptual
framework of parasocial interaction or parasocial relationships were
found to deliver implications related to the commercial impacts of these.
Although the analysis indicated that various sources examined this po-
tential commercial impact of social interaction and behaviour, the
ndings also revealed that the activity was primarily perceived as
neutral or creative entrepreneurial work, rather than commodifying at
its core. However, it should be noted that the sources that examined the
more commodifying elements of video content creation did emphazise
Table 8
Thematic categories of outcomes.
aspects of video
content creation
n Commercial aspects
of video content
n Other n
strategies and
13 Commercial
elements within
video content
10 Motivation (to
produce or
of popularity
9 The commercial
effect of interaction
or relationships
7 Content structure 4
7 Authenticity and its
commercial effects
2 Interaction within
video content
Celebrity (forms
and structures)
5 Economic
2 Performance
elements of video
content creation
Video content
creation as work
5 Video content
creation and
Video content
creation and
Video content
creation and
Social impact of
video content
Video content
creation and
M. T¨
onen et al.
Electronic Commerce Research and Applications 46 (2021) 101027
the added commodifying impact generated by the intimate nature of
video content creation and the social relations present in the activity.
Based on the ndings of this study and the overall fragmentation
seen in the results, the occupational structures of video content creation
seem to be developing rapidly, but further research on this topic is
necessary in order for more legitimate professional aspects and struc-
tures to develop within the digital economies and environments. There
is a clear need for more economic research on the structures of video
content creation in different regions and within the digital spheres. It is
also evident that the management of parasocial relationships and the
audience is becoming a more signicant determinant in the pursuit of
commercial gain and a career in video content creation, increasing the
level of strategy, entrepreneurial skill as well as social skill required in
this hybrid digital profession. As the occupational characteristics of the
activity develop and more services become available with user-centric
revenue share and interactive features, there is a need to extend the
understanding of social interaction (e.g. parasocial interaction and
parasocial relationships), the value and workload associated with
managing them. This calls for more research focusing on the value
creation and the digital economy forming around the activity, as well as
the organizational structures, managerial and entrepreneurial aspects of
the activity. This type of research could alleviate some of the current
evident issues in the occupational endeavours of video content creators,
such as mental health issues, fatigue and unstructured work conditions
(Parkin, 2018). They could also enhance the understanding of the ma-
terial and the immaterial value associated with this type of content
creation, as well as audience work/interaction associated with the
attention economy. This in turn could provide more information about
what these types of hybrid forms of work, such as playbour, mean in the
future and how they contribute to the future organization of work and
also to the power-balance between different entities involved in the
commercial processes related to these activities.
5. Conclusions
Online video content creation as an amateur media production ac-
tivity, merges elements of work and play. Whereas the research interest
in the characteristics of work within video content creation has clearly
increased within the last decade, there seems to be a need for more
variety in research but also more structure in the type of research that is
conducted related to this emerging digital profession. This is especially
evident in the ndings related to the domains of research, the theoretical
and conceptual frameworks and outcomes examined in the reviewed
literature, which highlight a trend in the examination of social inter-
action and behaviour within the activity but also their association and
impact on the commercial objectives of the activity. These ndings
emphazise the importance of social interaction in the creation of com-
mercial gain, which require a level of strategy and community man-
agement from the video content creator and extend the entrepreneurial
aspects of this activity, however more research is needed in the future,
examining how these activities are organised, where the value of this
type of activity is formed and the power-balance of different entities (e.
g. platforms, service providers, content creators and audiences).
The ndings of the study also found that video content creation as an
occupation is increasingly perceived as creative entrepreneurial work,
instead of commodifying labour, but it should be noted that this paper
primarily focused on examining the perception of the activity of video
content creation, not the activity of consuming video content creation or
being susceptible to commercial content within it. The commodication
of the audience is another aspect of this activity that could be examined
further in the future, as the platforms for sharing video content become
more user centric in their approach. Further research is therefore needed
on the economic structures surrounding video content creators as en-
trepreneurs and their forms of work, but also on the material and
immaterial value of their audiences.
The examination of terminology and denitions within the reviewed
literature indicates the emergence of dedicated terminology for the ac-
tivity, that has taken on descriptive terms of our previous understanding
of media production work. However, the terms examined in the
reviewed literature describe the activity instead of specic occupational
activities or clearly emerging professions. The term Streamer/stream-
ingseems to have established itself as a term to depict the overall
cultural context for the activity at large, whereas more specic terms
such as vlogger/YouTuber/live streamerdepict the development of
sub-cultures within this activity. The fragmentation of terminology also
examined in the reviewed literature, presented some limitations to this
study, as the fragmented terminology used in the context of video con-
tent creation, especially regionally, limits the results of this study to
examine sources found based on the most popular terms for the activity.
However, it should be noted, that this study aimed to examine the most
common terminology and the nuances of work within the development
of that terminology. The use of English in this study also limits the
terminology to only English sources, and therefore may limit the cultural
and geographical context of this study.
As the literature review for this study was conducted as a combina-
tion of a scoping review and theoretical review, the aim of the study was
to gather a representative sample of available literature which would
provide an initial indication of the nature of the research available of
this topic (Par´
e et al., 2015). It should be noted that the sample may not
include all available literature on this topic, and a systematic literature
review should be carried out as this activity develops further and gains
more extensive research. Furthermore, this study did not include
research on the amateur video work within the eld of mature video
content. Mature video content creation was excluded from this study to
better dene the activity into amateur video content creation that is
accessible and allowed for wider audiences and that can be distributed
through the most prominent video sharing platforms such as YouTube
and Twitch. We acknowledge that the occupational characteristics of
video content creation are evident in mature amateur video content, but
the characteristics, platforms and regulations would require a separate
examination in the future.
CRediT authorship contribution statement
Maria T¨
onen: Conceptualization, Methodology, Investigation,
Validation, Formal analysis, Visualization, Data curation, Writing -
original draft, Writing - review & editing. Johann Giertz: Conceptual-
ization, Methodology, Investigation, Validation, Formal analysis, Data
curation, Writing - original draft, Writing - review & editing. Welf H.
Weiger: Conceptualization, Methodology, Supervision, Validation,
Writing - review & editing. Juho Hamari: Conceptualization, Method-
ology, Supervision, Validation, Project administration, Writing - review
& editing.
Declaration of Competing Interest
The authors declare that they have no known competing nancial
interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to inuence
the work reported in this paper.
M. T¨
onen et al.
Electronic Commerce Research and Applications 46 (2021) 101027
Table A1
Reviewed publications.
Publication Journal Conference Empirical Non-
Qualitative Quantitative Mixed Survey Platform
Interview Video
(Aran et al., 2014) x x x x
(Arnett et al., 2019) x x x x
(Ashman et al., 2018) x x x x x
(Beers F¨
agersten, 2017) x x x x
(Berryman and Kavka, 2017) x x
(Bhatia, 2018) x x x x x
(Biel and Gatica-Perez, 2013) x x x x x
(Bishop, 2019) x x x x x x x
(Boxman-Shabtai, 2019) x x x x
(Brownlee, 2016) x x
(Chen and Lin, 2018) x x x x
(Churchill and Xu, 2016) x x x x
(Cullen and Ruberg, 2019) x x x x
(Cunningham and Craig, 2017) x x
(Cunningham et al., 2019) x x x x x
(Deller and Murphy, 2020) x x x x
(Faas et al., 2018) x x x x
(Ferchaud et al., 2018) x x x x
(Fietkiewicz et al., 2018) x x x x
ander, 2017) x x x x x x x
(García-Rapp, 2017) x x x x
(García-Rapp, 2016) x x x x
(Garcia-Rapp and Roc-Cuberes,
x x x x x x
(Gerhards, 2019) x x x x
(Gros et al., 2017) x x x x
(Guarriello, 2019) x x x x
(Harley and Fitzpatrick, 2009) x x x x
(Hou et al., 2019) x x x x x
(Hou, 2019) x x x x x x
(Jerslev, 2016) x x
(Jia et al., 2018) x x x x
(Johnson, 2019) x x x x x
(Johnson and Woodcock, 2019b) x x x x x
(Johnson and Woodcock, 2019a) x x x x
(Jorge et al., 2018) x x x x
(Kaytoue et al., 2012) x x x x
(Keating, 2013) x x
(Koch et al., 2018) x x x x
(Lee and Watkins, 2016) x x x x
(Lee et al., 2019) x x x x
(Lessel et al., 2018) x x x x
(Li et al., 2018) x x x x
(Liu et al., 2019) x x x x
(Lu et al., 2018) x x x x x
(Mardon et al., 2018) x x x x
(Martínez and Olsson, 2019) x x x x
(McRoberts et al., 2016) x x x x x
(Munnukka et al., 2019) x x x x
(Nicoll and Nansen, 2018) x x x x
(Partin, 2019) x x
(Pellicone and Ahn, 2017) x x x x
(Postigo, 2016) x x x x x x
(continued on next page)
M. T¨
onen et al.
Electronic Commerce Research and Applications 46 (2021) 101027
Aleti, T., Pallant, J.I., Tuan, A., van Laer, T., 2019. Tweeting with the stars: automated
text analysis of the effect of celebrity social media communications on consumer
word of mouth. J. Interactive Market. 48, 1732. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.
Anderson, C., 2006. The long tail: how endless choice is creating unlimited demand.
Word J. Int. Linguist. Assoc.
Andersson Schwarz, J., 2017. Platform logic: an interdisciplinary approach to the
platform-based economy. Policy and Internet. 9, 374-394. https://doi.org/10.1002/
Aran, O., Biel, J.-I., Gatica-Perez, D., 2014. Broadcasting oneself: visual discovery of
vlogging styles. IEEE Trans. Multimedia 16 (1), 201215. https://doi.org/10.1109/
Arnett, L., Netzorg, R., Chaintreau, A., Wu, E., 2019. Cross-platform interactions and
popularity in the live-streaming community, in: Conference on Human Factors in
Computing Systems Proceedings. https://doi.org/10.1145/3290607.3312900.
Table A2
Terminology development by year.
Year Terminology content creator Terminology content creation
2009 Vlogger Broadcasting (2), vlogging, video
2012 Content broadcaster, commenter,
user, YouTube celebrity, streamer
Upload video/content, streaming,
2013 Amateur video-maker, vlogger Amateur video making (2), post a
video, Amateur lm-making,
2014 YouTuber, YouTube performer,
Create video content, vlogging,
video creation, produce vlogs
2016 Youtuber (3), vlogger (2), YouTube
celebrities (2), streamer (2), amateur
lmmaker, amateur videographers,
YouTube vlogger, video blogger,
entrepreneurial online video
creators, entrepreneurial content
creators, video creators, content
provider, content creators, diaosi,
content producer, Blogger,
broadcaster, YouTube author,
YouTube creator, commentator
Broadcast (3), post videos (2),
upload video (2), streaming (2),
amateur lmmaking, amateur
creative production, uploading
video, content production, creative
content production, vlog content,
author video live streaming, live
broadcasting, production, making
videos, lifestreaming, create video
2017 Streamer (5), YouTuber (4), vlogger
(3), video creator, creator, YouTube
Inuencer, content creator, YouTube
user, internet celebrities, online
creator, broadcaster
Streaming (4), Live streaming (3),
broadcasting (3), vlogging (2),
upload vlog, upload content,
posting video, video-sharing,
produce materials, upload, live-
2018 Streamer (11), YouTuber (7),
vlogger (7), content creator (4),
broadcaster (2), uploader (2), live
streamer (2), YouTube personalities
(2), amateur experts, actor,
producer, SLSSsstreamers, video
blogger, Youtube inuencer, online
streamer, content makers, Youtube
celebrities, amateur performers,
YouTube creators, creator, content
producer, professional-amateur,
digital creator, semi-professional
video producer
Streaming (7), live streaming (6),
broadcast (6), Vlogging (4), live-
streaming (2) upload video (2),
posting video, amateur content
production, video blogging, upload
material, broadcast live videos,
streaming video, upload & share
video, produce vlog, upload vlog,
live video streaming, broadcast live
content, online video streaming,
sharing UG video, upload content,
produce video, share video, content
2019 Streamer (10), broadcaster (7),
vlogger (7), YouTuber (6), live
streamer (4) YouTube celebrities (2),
livestreamer (2), showroom hosts,
content providers, YouTube creators,
amateur video creators, video
creators, creators, entrepreneurial
broadcasters, Online video content
creators, video content creators,
social video content creators,
vBlogger, amateur producers,
creator, live video streaming
platform user, live-streamer,
YouTube stars, amateur content
producers, amateur content
producers, YouTube bloggers,
vidders, YouTube video blogger
live streaming (9), streaming (7),
vlogging (5), live-streaming (3),
upload video (3), produce videos,
broadcasting (3), livestreaming (2),
content creation (2), video content
creation, social video content
creation, amateur video-sharing,
lifelogging, live video streaming,
host daily streams, video sharing,
upload content
Table A1 (continued )
Publication Journal Conference Empirical Non-
Qualitative Quantitative Mixed Survey Platform
Interview Video
(Raun, 2018) x x
(Rihl and Wegener, 2019) x x x x
(Scolari and Fraticelli, 2019) x x x x
(Siutila, 2018) x x x x
oblom and Hamari, 2017) x x x x
oblom et al., 2019) x x x x
(Tang et al., 2016) x x x x x
(Tu et al., 2018) x x x x
onen et al., 2019) x x x x
(Wang, 2020) x x x x x
(Wang et al., 2019) x x
(Wattenhofer et al., 2012) x x x x
(Wohn et al., 2018) x x x x
(Woodcock and Johnson, 2019) x x x x x
(Wotanis and McMillan, 2014) x x x x x
(Xiao et al., 2018) x x x x
(Yu et al., 2018) x x x x
(Zhang and Hjorth, 2019) x x x x
(Zhao, 2016) x x
(Zhao et al., 2018) x x x x
(Zhou et al., 2019) x x x x
(Zhu et al., 2017) x x x x
(Zimmer, 2018) x x x x
M. T¨
onen et al.
Electronic Commerce Research and Applications 46 (2021) 101027
Ashman, R., Patterson, A., Brown, S., 2018. ‘Dont forget to like, share and subscribe:
digital autopreneurs in a neoliberal world. J. Business Res. 92, 474483. https://doi.
Banks, J., Deuze, M., 2009. Co-creative labour. Int. J. Cultural Stud. 12 (5), 419431.
Beers F¨
agersten, K., 2017. The role of swearing in creating an online persona: the case of
YouTuber PewDiePie. Discourse, Context & Media 18, 110. https://doi.org/
Berryman, R., Kavka, M., 2017. ‘I Guess A Lot of People See Me as a Big Sister or a
Friend: the role of intimacy in the celebrication of beauty vloggers. J. Gender Stud.
26 (3), 307320. https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2017.1288611.
Bhatia, A., 2018. Interdiscursive performance in digital professions: the case of YouTube
tutorials. J. Pragmatics 124, 106120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.
Biel, J.-I., Gatica-Perez, D., 2013. The YouTube Lens: crowdsourced personality
impressions and audiovisual analysis of vlogs. IEEE Trans. Multimedia 15 (1), 4155.
Bishop, S., 2019. Managing visibility on YouTube through algorithmic gossip. New
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Video games have become an everyday part of the lives of thousands of users. While playing video games is relatively common, enjoying video games through live streaming platforms is becoming increasingly popular, with users experiencing the game in a much more social and interactive way. However, recent academic research on the subject has focused on studying the two activities independently. To bridge this gap, the present study proposes a theoretical model that explores the connections between gaming and viewing. More specifically, this paper aims to examine whether the motivations for playing video games and expectations of positive outcomes—e.g., making new friends, professionalizing the hobby, or increasing competences and skills—lead to increased time spent playing and viewing, which may ultimately lead to potentially problematic uses. To validate the conceptual model, data were collected from 954 players and viewers and a partial least squares structural equation model was applied. The results suggest that positive expectations about the use of video games are directly related to time spent playing, but negatively related to time spent watching. Moreover, potential problematic uses are determined more by an increase in time spent playing than in time spent watching, with watching being treated as a complementary activity to gaming.
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Purpose – Social live-streaming services are an emerging form of social media that is gaining in popularity among researchers and practitioners. By facilitating real-time interactions be-tween video content creators (i.e., streamers) and viewers, live-streaming platforms provide an environment for novel engagement behaviors and monetization structures. In this research, the authors examine communication foci and styles as levers of streaming success. In doing so, they analyze their impact on viewers’ engagement with the stream. Design/methodology/approach – This research draws on a unique dataset collected via a multi-wave questionnaire comprising viewers’ perceptions of a specific streamer’s communications and their actual behavior toward them. The authors analyze the proposed impact of communica-tion foci on viewing and donating behavior while considering the moderating role of communi-cation style using seemingly unrelated regressions. Findings – The results show that communication foci represent a double-edged sword: commu-nity-focused communication drives viewership while reducing donations made to the streamer. In contrast, content-focused communication curbs viewing but drives donating. Practical implications – Of specific interest for practitioners, the study demonstrates how streaming content providers (e.g., influencers) should adjust their communications to drive en-gagement in the context of synchronous social media such as social live-streaming services. Beyond that, this research identifies unique characteristics of engagement that can help manag-ers to improve their digital service offerings. Originality/value – The authors highlight the need to distinguish between engagement behav-iors in asynchronous and synchronous social media. The proposed conceptualization sheds new light on success factors of social media in general and social live-streaming services specifical-ly. To maximize user engagement, content creators in synchronous social media must consider their communications’ focus (content or community) and style (utilitarian or hedonic). Social Implications – Social live-streaming services provide an environment that offers unique opportunities for self-development and co-creation among social media users. By allowing for real-time interactions, these emerging social media services build on ephemeral content to pro-vide altered experiences for users. Keywords: Live streaming services, Content creation, Content consumption, Engagement, Social media, Ephemeral content
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Prior research has focused on analyzing the content and intent of celebrity social media communications. By observing that the linguistic style of such celebrity communications drives consumer word of mouth, the main goal of the current research is to broaden this limited perspective. An automated text analysis of narrative/analytical, internally/externally focused, and negative/positive emotional styles in tweets by celebrity chefs, personal trainers, and fashion bloggers was conducted to this effect. The findings are threefold. First, across celebrity categories externally focused, narrative styles are more effective in terms of word of mouth. Second, emotional styles are not effective. Third, angry outbursts are an exception; they are effective drivers of word of mouth for personal trainers. As such, this research furthers scholarly and practitioner understanding of the state-the-art of celebrity social media communication: the effect of tweets' linguistic styles on consumer word of mouth.
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This article analyzes the political economy of sexually affective data on the Chinese gay dating platform Blued. Having launched in 2012 as a location-based dating app akin to Grindr, Blued has now become a multipurpose platform providing extra services such as newsfeeds and live streaming. Through the continuous imbrication of old and new functionalities and related affordances, users are transformed from dating subjects into performative laborers. Based on Internet ethnographic research that lasted 2 years, this article focuses on sexual-affective data flows (e.g. virtual gifting, following, liking, commenting, and sharing) produced by gay live streamers within the parameters of same-sex desires such as infatuation, sexual arousal, and online intimacy. It argues that these sexually affective data flows increasingly constitute key corporate assets with which Blued attracts venture capital. This analysis of live streamers and their viewers extends understandings of dating apps in two ways. First, it shows how these apps now function as business platforms on top of being channels for hooking up. Second, it emphasizes that whereas users created data freely, now it is produced by paid labor.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the motivations behind online video content creation on services such as YouTube and Twitch. These activities, performed by private individuals online, have become increasingly monetized and professionalised through the accessible tools provided by video sharing services, which has presented a noteworthy manifestation of the increasing merger of the work and leisure within digital environments and the emergence of a hybrid form of work and play, playbour. Design/methodology/approach The data for the study were collected using an online survey of 377 video content creators and it was analysed via structural equation modelling. Findings The findings of the study indicate that although the practice of video content creation is becoming more commercialised and professionalised, the extrinsic motivations, often associated with work (e.g. income, prestige), remain less significant drivers for content creation than intrinsic motivations (e.g. enjoyment, socialisation), which are associated with leisure activities. Originality/value This study offers insight into how the authors have begun to reorganise the position in the new digital labour culture, where monotonous tasks are increasingly automated, allowing room for intrinsically driven playful labour to develop within the leisure activities.
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In this article, we present a thematic analysis of broadcast and print media representations of YouTube celebrity. Youth-oriented media have capitalised on the phenomenon, placing vloggers alongside actors and pop stars. However, in much adult-oriented mainstream media, YouTubers are presented as fraudulent, inauthentic, opportunist and talentless, making money from doing nothing. Key themes recur in coverage, including YouTubers’ presumed lack of talent and expertise, the alleged dangers they present and the argument that they are not ‘really famous’. YouTubers’ claims to fame are thus simultaneously legitimised by giving them coverage and delegitimised within said coverage, echoing media treatment of other ‘amateur’ celebrities such as reality stars and citizen journalists. We argue that the response to YouTubers in more traditional media outlets demonstrates recognition of their visibility and appeal to a younger audience, while also signifying apprehension towards a phenomenon that potentially threatens both the existence of traditional media forms, and the influence of traditional media professionals.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate what factors can affect people’s continuous watching and consumption intentions in live streaming. Design/methodology/approach This research conducted a mixed-methods study. The semi-structured interview was deployed to develop a research model and a live streaming typology. A survey was then used for quantitative assessment of the research model. Survey data were analyzed using partial least squares-structural equation modeling. Findings The results suggest that sex and humor appeals, social status display and interactivity play considerable roles in the viewer’s behavioral intentions in live streaming and their effects vary across different live streaming types. Research limitations/implications This research is conducted in the Chinese context. Future research can test the research model in other cultural contexts. This study can also be extended by incorporating the roles of viewer gender and price sensitivity in the future. Practical implications This study provides managerial insights into how live streaming platforms and streamers can improve their popularity and profitability. Originality/value The paper introduces a novel form of social media and a new business model. It illustrates what will affect people’s behavioral intentions in such a new context.
Live streaming, a recently emerged service in the sharing economy era, is already very popular in China and is growing in the US market. Besides streamers (those who make the content) and the platform itself, unions of streamers are important stakeholders in live streaming platforms because they act as the streamers' agents. Because the union's salary mechanism will significantly influence the behavior of streamers, in this paper, we investigate the interaction between the streamers and unions from the perspective of salary mechanism. Specifically, we introduce a salary mechanism denoted by (θ,R,T) for the union and then set up a game model between the union and streamers. While the proceeds of streamers depend on their efforts, the union's salary mechanism also significantly influences the efforts of streamers in the union. Streamers determine whether to join the union or not, as well as their efforts under the two alternatives. The union's goal is to optimize its salary mechanism, as well as to determine its effort level in the streamer's virtual room. Our results show that: (i) whether a streamer will join the union depends on both the union's salary mechanism and the streamer's ability; (ii) the salary mechanism (θ,R,T) can be used to implement either the elite talent strategy or the huge-crowd strategy; and (iii) the union's optimal salary mechanism is significantly influenced by the platform's share rates to the union and streamers. In this paper, the properties of the union's optimal salary mechanism are analyzed. This paper contributes to the literature by being the first to incorporate a salary mechanism into studies of the live streaming economy.
Conference Paper
Digital gifting in live streaming, in which viewers buy digital gifts to reward the streamers, was worth over $200 million in 2018 in China and its growth has been accelerating. This paper explores what motivates people to tip and how it impacts interactions between viewers and streamers. Through a survey, we identified the main categories of viewers' tipping motivations. We found that viewers were motivated by the reciprocal acts of streamers, who would engage in various types of social interactions with tippers during the live streams. The styles of interactions and contents of live stream based on the tipping are differently influenced by the motivations of viewers and streamers. For example, viewers often tip large to attract attentions from the crowd or promote preferred live-streaming content. These findings provide more knowledge on the social interaction in live streaming platforms.
Conference Paper
This paper performs a qualitative analysis of the community guidelines of video game live streaming platforms like Twitch, Mixer, and Caffeine. Live streaming is becoming an increasingly prominent part of the contemporary landscape around video games, game cultures, and the games industry [34]. Recent research into video game live streaming has explored its financial structures [18], its potential as a platform for self-expression [10], and its novel affordances for communication [12]. However, community guidelines also play a significant, behind-the-scenes role in shaping live streaming practices. These guidelines, which shift over time in response to controversies and changing notions of acceptable behavior, set standards for what types of content can be streamed and how streamers present themselves on-camera. Here we assemble, compare, and interpret the community guidelines of a number of top live streaming sites. Our focus is on how these guidelines construct and regulate "legitimate" bodies - both the bodies of streamers and the bodies of in-game characters - especially the sexualized bodies of women. In varying ways, each set of community guidelines attempts to establish rules for how women's bodies may or may not be presented on screen. Often these guidelines measure and quantify the body, for example by dictating precisely how high the neckline of a streamer's shirt must be. Through our analysis, we articulate the unspoken yet active cultural work performed by these community guidelines, which try yet ultimately fail to render a definition of the sexualized body in precise, concrete terms. This research also offers new insights into larger issues of video games and gender. It points toward anxieties about the visibility of women's bodies in gaming spaces and demonstrates that, although live streaming platforms like Twitch present their community guidelines as tools for protecting their community members, these same guidelines often enact the further marginalization of women and other diverse streamers.
Beauty vloggers’ feminised outputs often position them outside of traditional spheres of technical expertise, however, their strategic management of algorithmic visibility makes them an illuminating source of algorithmic knowledge. I draw from an ethnography of beauty vloggers and industry stakeholders to study the collaborative and directive processes used to formulate and sustain algorithmic expertise – algorithmic gossip. Algorithmic gossip is defined as communally and socially informed theories and strategies pertaining to recommender algorithms, shared and implemented to engender financial consistency and visibility on algorithmically structured social media platforms. Gossip is productive: community communication and talk informs and supports practices such as uploading frequently and producing feminised beauty content to perform more effectively on YouTube. Taking gossip seriously can present a valuable resource for revealing information about how algorithms work and have worked, in addition to revealing how perceptions of algorithms inform content production.