Yu-Kai Lin, Arun Rai, and Yukun Yang*(2022). "Information Control for
Creator Brand Management in Subscription-based Crowdfunding,"
Information Systems Research.
Subscription-based crowdfunding (SBC) is an emerging platform for creators of digital content (e.g., music, comics, stories, and videos) to build their person brands 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; in return, the backers gain 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 their ongoing creative activities. The SBC context engenders unique creator-centric dynamics and mechanisms that are ill understood in crowdfunding literature. In this study, we investigate the effects of SBC creators’ two information control strategies: (1) earnings concealment and (2) private postings. From a brand management perspective, we theorize that earnings concealment improves brand authenticity, whereas private postings foster brand differentiation, cocreation, and attachment. These will lead to a positive impact on the financial (backer base) and nonfinancial (fan participation) outcomes of an SBC campaign. Furthermore, we propose a reinforcing dynamic between information control and SBC performance whereby better SBC outcomes will increase the creators’ tendencies to engage in information control. To test our hypotheses, we obtained panel data from a large SBC platform that 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 for creators. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our findings.
Paper link: https://doi.org/10.1287/isre.2021.1085