Livestreaming experienced a big leap in viewership over the past few years. Included in the livestreaming entertainment field is the emergence of streamers using VTuber models rather than using their face. VTubers are face-tracking avatars that have been becoming more popular as streamers decide how much of their own privacy they would like to protect while streaming. Following the popularity boom, researchers have become interested in the specific communication phenomena in the livestreaming context. Specifically, practitioners and academics are interested in how live streamers can affect audience perception and potentially make a career out of eliciting positive reactions and creating connections with their audiences. To better understand this phenomenon, this study investigated the effect of visual representation of a streamer on the audience perception of the streamer through an online experiment using three group between-subjects comparisons. Specifically, three short videos in which a female streamer plays Minecraft were developed that have the identical streaming context but with different visual representation of a streamer (No Face, VTuber, and Face). Data were collected from 413 undergraduate students at a large university. Primary finding indicates that visual representation of a streamer has significant impact on the perceived social presence of the streamer. Specifically, VTubers incites significantly less social presence in the dimension of social richness compared to the other conditions. However, the visual representation does not have any notable effect on interpersonal attraction, perceived credibility and parasocial interactions. Collectively, the study contributes to the limited research on VTubers and audience perception in the English-speaking academic field as well as the growing literature on streamers.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Nicholson School of Communication and Media
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)
Chinchilla, Paola, "VTubers vs FaceCam: How the Visual Representations of Live Streamers Affects Audience Experience" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1535.
Restricted to the UCF community until May 2028; it will then be open access.