(How) Does UGC Impact Professionals? Evidence from Local News
43 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 26, 2021
Today, many platforms host user-generated content (UGC) and content by professionals side by side. However, behavior of UGC and professionals is mostly studied in isolation. In this paper, we study the spillover effects from UGC on content from professionals in the context of the news industry. We use an exogenous shock to the supply of UGC to identify spillover effects on the output of professionals as well as the implications for the business model of online platforms. Using data from a network of 122 local news outlets hosted by an online news platform, we find that in response to the reduction in the supply of user-generated news, which mainly is driven by reduced output from experienced users, inexperienced professionals significantly increase their output. However, we find a decrease in overall content on the platform, one which is especially pronounced for local news. We further show that this likely has detrimental effects on the business model of the online platform, with a decrease in viewership and articles and an increase in the quantity of content by professionals, who are paid by the platform. Thus, our work contributes to the literature of UGC and online platforms, as well as the literature on local news.
Keywords: User generated content, Professionals, Platforms, Local News
JEL Classification: D26, D83, J2, L82
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation