Frame by Fame: Content Creation on Short Video-Format Platforms

45 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2021 Last revised: 9 Sep 2023

See all articles by Abhishek Deshmane

Abhishek Deshmane

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business

Xabier Barriola


Date Written: July 16, 2021


Problem definition: Short video-format platforms like NetEase and TikTok are attention economies that host User-Generated Content, in the form of combined video and audio elements, and operate on principles of network virality. This study explores user content creation strategies by focusing on decisions around content release frequency and the incorporation of adopted content in newly generated creations.

Methodology/results: We theoretically explore the role of the following three mechanisms influencing these decisions: (a) Social hierarchies that organically emerge in the platform’s network structure, (b) Virality of content on the platform, and (c) Algorithmic interventions through subtle nudging of platform-generated recommendations. To empirically study these relationships, we use a detailed log of user activity on NetEase Cloud Village registered during the month of November 2019 and carry out regression-based analyses. We find that high status users adapt their content release frequency strategically, slowing down after successful content to avoid dilution of potential virality. We identify nuanced behaviors in viral element incorporation, with high status users generally exhibiting non-conforming tendencies to prevailing trends while adopting a risk-averse approach for subsequent creations following exceptionally successful previous releases. Finally, contrary to algorithm aversion, users prefer content recommended by the platform. However, elite users disregard algorithms to retain agency in decision-making.

Managerial implications: Recommendations for such platforms center on algorithmic policies to amplify new UGC creation and deliver content recommendations that harmonize personalized preferences with a diverse discourse landscape to tackle issues related to echo chambers.

Keywords: User-Generated Content, Social Media, Social Hierarchy, Virality, Human-AI Interface, Cultural Operations

JEL Classification: M1

Suggested Citation

Deshmane, Abhishek and Barriola, Xabier, Frame by Fame: Content Creation on Short Video-Format Platforms (July 16, 2021). IESE Business School Working Paper, Available at SSRN:

Abhishek Deshmane (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business ( email )

800 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

Xabier Barriola

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77 305 Fontainebleau Cedex

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