Smartphone Dependency

Everyone has a smartphone these days, but the media is still looking for the best way to reach them.

Sylvia Chan-Olmsted, professor in the department of telecommunication at the University of Florida, determines that bite-size amounts of information may be the best way to hook readers.

Sylvia Chan-Olmsted teaches brand management, consumer and audience analytics, media research, and media management at both graduate and undergraduate level. Her research expertise includes digital/mobile media consumption, branding, and strategic competition in emerging media/communications industries. Her current studies involve the development and marketing of mobile media content, cross-platform media strategy and audience behavior, mobile apps usage, and branding via social/mobile media, especially in the context of young adult consumers.

Dr. Chan-Olmsted has conducted consumer research and consulted for Google, Nielsen, National Association of Broadcasters, the Cable Center, and the Center for International Business Education and Research. Recipient of over 20 national and international research awards, Dr. Chan-Olmsted holds the Research Foundation Professorship and the Al and Effie Flanagan Professorship at the University of Florida and is the recipient of the 2014 Award of Honor presented by the Journal of Media Economics for scholarly contribution to the field.

Dr. Chan-Olmsted is the author of the book, Competitive Strategy for Media Firms and co-editor of two books, Media Management and Economics Handbook and Global Media Economics. Her book won the prestigious Most Significant Contribution to Media Management and Economics Award from the U.S. Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. She has published over 60 refereed articles in the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Telecommunications Policy, Mobile Media & Communication, New Media and Society, Journal of Marketing Communications, Journal of Media Economics, International Journal on Media Management, and others.

Smartphone Dependency

We all know that Americans have a love affair with their smartphones.  A recent report showed that 38% of American smartphone owners never disconnect from their devices and over 71% of them sleep with their phones next to their beds. As these devices become a necessity, the media industry is trying to figure out how to best deliver content on this platform and to cross-pollinate with existing platforms.

With that in mind, my recent study focused on examining the relationship between smartphone dependency and a consumer’s media consumption patterns and perceptions. Surveying young millennials, we found that

  • There is a strong relationship between a young adult’s dependency on smartphones and his or her dependency on computer and television. But that’s not the case for radio or print dependency.
  • There is also a strong relationship between a young adult’s multiplatform use and their smartphone dependency, as well as its use as an anchor platform during multiplatform media consumption.
  • Gender, race, and even consumer innovativeness do not play any role in smartphone dependency.

We also found that the mobile functions that are most relevant to smartphone dependency for young millennials were those associated with social networking, communication, and mobile-specific tasks such as location-based applications, but not content.  The value of smartphones for media consumption appears to rest more on its social and mobility characteristics and less on its potential as a content platform.

Knowing the importance of social functions on mobile platforms, our next project is to look at how short-form media content might be integrated into social media on these devices.

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This post originally appeared on the Academic Minute


Posted: June 9, 2016