Kingmakers, Executioners or Lost Voices from the Ivory Tower: When Do Critics Matter for the Performance of Creative Products?
Department of Innovation and Organization Economics, Copenhagen Business School
September 16, 2010
When do taste conflicts between critics and mass audiences occur? When does critical opinion matter for the success of a new creative product? I address these questions by exploring the contextual forces that are likely to impinge upon critics’ persuasion power. A study of the population of sitcoms on U.S. TV networks (1949–2008) shows that after controlling for coverage selection, critical endorsements enhance the longevity of sitcoms. However, the life-enhancing effect decreases as the contrast of the form increases, and its appeal relative to other TV genres improves, or variation in audience taste grows. Greater exposure of the sitcom form to mass audiences does not mediate the influence of critical endorsements or devaluations. These findings contribute to the emergent theory of social categorization in organizational fields by offering a framework that captures the continuous enactment of valuation systems, valuation orders and role structures, as well as the interactions among them. They also enhance our understanding of the conditions under which creative innovations survive longer in the market.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 51
Keywords: creative innovations, critical endorsements, form evolution, sitcoms, New York Times, survival
JEL Classification: 031, Z1,M1, M3, L82, D71working papers series
Date posted: September 17, 2010 ; Last revised: October 2, 2010
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