Washington: A new study has found that mobile media technologies such as smart phones aren’t taking people away from relying on traditional media sources such as newspapers or television.
Instead, mobile media are filling the spaces in people’s daily routine in which other media sources are either unavailable or inconvenient to use.
That suggests mobile media use is taking a different path to popularity than did technologies like television, said John Dimmick, lead author of the study and professor of communication at Ohio State University.
“Typically, what happens with new media is that they compete with and displace older media to a certain extent, like television did with radio,” Dimmick said.
“But at least early in its development, mobile media isn’t taking us away from older media – it has its own separate niche,” he said.
Dimmick conducted the study with Gregory Hoplamazian, a graduate student at Ohio State, and John Christian Feaster of Rowan University in New Jersey.
Their study involved 166 participants aged 19 to 68, who agreed to keep a time-space diary of their media use over the course of a day.
During the day assigned to them, they recorded where and when they accessed a variety of media technologies, including mobile media technologies such as smart phones, as well as television, newspaper, desktop and laptop computers, radio and others.
Using the data from the diaries, the researchers analyzed when and where participants were most likely to use different technologies to access news content.
Overall, mobile media was still a relatively minor player in the way people accessed news – it accounted for only about 7 percent of all media sessions, Dimmick said.
Computers were the most popular method for accessing news, with about 24 percent of all media sessions occurring on desktops and 15 percent occurring on laptops. Television accounted for about 29 percent of all media sessions. Newspapers and radio each accounted for about 9 percent of sessions.
The study was published in the current issue of the journal New Media and Society.