Purpose – This study aims to identify distinct online media user segments on the basis of three media theories, namely media displacement theory, media complementarity theory and media richness theory. Design/methodology/approach – A large‐scale, mobile‐based web survey was conducted in Japan to assess behavioural variables (media time allocation, media richness perceptions, and media access motives) and demographics. Findings – The latent class model reveals four distinct media user segments: dual media users (i.e. users of the internet on both the mobile and the PC); mobile internet users; PC internet users; and passive online users. Dual media users are likely to: spend more time on information searching; perceive greater levels of media richness in online media; and share common motives for accessing internet media via both mobile and PC. The findings are consistent with our theoretical expectations. Research limitations and implications – Any exploratory clustering of consumers is by definition a snapshot that depends on time and place. Consequently the findings would very likely have been different if the underlying data had been sampled at another time or in different locations. Despite this limitation the findings corroborate some of the basic tenets of theories of media competition and complementarity. Practical implications – The fact that almost a third of online media users access internet content via both mobile and PC suggests the increasing importance of cross‐media strategies. Originality/value – This is a pioneering study that examines media competition and complementarity between the mobile internet and the PC internet.
Online Information Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 23, 2010
Keywords: Internet; Japan; Mobile communication systems; Computers
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