The ‘live’ life The effect of engagement and parasocial interaction on the perceived closeness between viewers and streamers on

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Live streaming over the internet is revolutionizing the way people consume media. The rise of live content is changing the online landscape. Live streaming also offers interesting opportunities for content marketing, but its workings are still unclear. The aim of this research is to investigate how viewer engagement and parasocial interaction affect emotional closeness between viewers and streamers on live streaming platform A quantitative research design was chosen and an online questionnaire was carried out. Based on 269 valid responses, we found that engagement has no significant effect on emotional closeness, while parasocial interaction does have a significant, positive effect. Furthermore, parasocial interaction also has a significant, positive effect on engagement. These effects hold when controlling for participants’ age, gender, education level and the language in which they took the questionnaire. However, we note that existing conceptualizations of both viewer engagement and parasocial interaction do not appear to fully cover the nuances of the live streaming context. Thus, our most important finding is that live stream viewer engagement and parasocial interaction should be re-conceptualized and adapted to better match the intricacies of Twitch streams. Theoretical and practical implications of the results, along with avenues for further research, are discussed.
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