Information Control for Creator Brand Management in Subscription-Based Crowdfunding
59 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2020
Date Written: October 1, 2020
Subscription-based crowdfunding (SBC) is an emerging platform for creators of digital experiential content (e.g., music, comics, stories, videos) to build their brand and garner support from fans. A unique feature that sets SBC apart from other crowdfunding models is the creator-centered freemium model. That is, creators can offer free content to attract fans who can then subscribe to financially support a creator, and in return the backers have access to the creator’s premium content and exclusive perks. In doing so, creators receive regular (e.g., monthly) subscription payments from their backers to sustain ongoing creative activities. The SBC context engenders unique creator-centric dynamics and mechanisms that are ill understood in the crowdfunding literature. This study investigates the effects of SBC creators’ two information control strategies: (1) earnings concealment and (2) private postings. From a brand management lens, we theorize that earnings concealment improves brand authenticity and private postings increase brand exclusivity. These will lead to a positive impact on the financial (backer base) and nonfinancial (fan participation) outcomes of an SBC campaign. Further, we propose a reinforcing dynamic between information control and SBC performance in which better SBC outcomes will increase creators’ tendency to engage in information control. To test our hypotheses, we obtain data from a large SBC platform. Our panel data contains monthly observations of 92,850 creators from August 2016 to December 2017. The results of our empirical analyses provide evidence for the benefits of the two information control strategies in SBC and demonstrate the reinforcing relationships between information control and SBC outcomes. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of our findings.
Keywords: Crowdfunding, subscription-based crowdfunding, information control, human brands
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