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(2014)BEHAVIOUR & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY.33(8).p.844-858 Mark abstract This mixed-method research focuses on the growing appropriation of multiple screen devices for audiovisual media consumption. Based on survey measures, we distinguish thee patterns: (a) maintaining the status quo, by mainly drawing upon television, (b) broadening up the repertoire, by extending television with computers and mobile devices, or (c) even replacing television by a computer. Next, we draw upon insights form niche theory, rationalizing media choices in terms of competing gratifications. This perspective is however too one-sided, as our results indicate that habit is a much stronger explanatory variable, especially when a broad range of devices is appropriated. In a follow-up qualitative study, based on Q-methodology, we found that the orientations towards what people seek in audiovisual technologies are only mildly contingent with specific technology appropriation. This problematizes the very substance of niches in the audiovisual: as technologies are capable of the same things, their discriminating power is declining. Hence, in future applications of niche theory, gratifications and habits of communication modes (what people do with media technologies) should be taken into account, rather than media as tied to a specific technology. Niche theory's core remains, but its applications should be updated to theoretical insights matching the evolving media environment.

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Autor: Cédric Courtois, Lieven De Marez and Pieter Verdegem



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