Google Research

Video WatchTime and Comment Sentiment: Experience from YouTube

Proceedings of the Fourth IEEE Workshop on Hot Topics in Web Systems and Technologies (2016)

Abstract

Video watching is now an indispensable part of the general public media consumption, yet very little is known about the relationship between how users interact with each other and how that affects video consumption patterns. In this paper, we explore the relationship between user commenting behavior and how that might or might not be predictive of video consumption patterns such as watch time. Contrary to recent findings, we found that video watch time is correlated with the positive sentiment expressed in the comments of YouTube videos. More precisely, videos with more positive sentiment on average in the comments are more likely to be watched longer; while videos with negative comment sentiment on average are more likely to have shorter watch durations. These results suggest that users prefer videos that evoke positive emotional responses. If the findings here generalizes to other social media, this result suggests a motivational design finding that is useful for other system designers.

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