Collaborations on YouTube: From Unsupervised Detection to the Impact on Video and Channel Popularity

by   Christian Koch, et al.

YouTube is one of the most popular platforms for streaming of user-generated video. Nowadays, professional YouTubers are organized in so called multi-channel networks (MCNs). These networks offer services such as brand deals, equipment, and strategic advice in exchange for a share of the YouTubers' revenue. A major strategy to gain more subscribers and, hence, revenue is collaborating with other YouTubers. Yet, collaborations on YouTube have not been studied in a detailed quantitative manner. This paper aims to close this gap with the following contributions. First, we collect a YouTube dataset covering video statistics over three months for 7,942 channels. Second, we design a framework for collaboration detection given a previously unknown number of persons featuring in YouTube videos. We denote this framework for the analysis of collaborations in YouTube videos using a Deep Neural Network (DNN) based approach as CATANA. Third, we analyze about 2.4 years of video content and use CATANA to answer research questions providing guidance for YouTubers and MCNs for efficient collaboration strategies. Thereby, we focus on (i) collaboration frequency and partner selectivity, (ii) the influence of MCNs on channel collaborations, (iii) collaborating channel types, and (iv) the impact of collaborations on video and channel popularity. Our results show that collaborations are in many cases significantly beneficial in terms of viewers and newly attracted subscribers for both collaborating channels, showing often more than 100


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