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The chasm between having and using – Adoption versus use diffusion of iDTV in Flanders

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The study of innovation has traditionally been characterized by two main paradigms: the ‘diffusion of innovations’ and the ‘domestication’ of innovations. They were originally considered as two distinct approaches with their own methods, tools and assumptions. However, recently an ‘interactionist’ stance has emerged, trying to combine the best of both worlds. This has resulted in research efforts combining insights from both traditions. Within this article, we utilize a use-diffusion model that makes a quantitative distinction between usage patterns in order to complement an investigation into the adoption diffusion of a technology. We do this for digital TV (DTV) in Flanders, an information and communication technologies (ICT) that in terms of adoption is heading towards mass market, but in terms of usage a lot of users tend to stick to their traditional viewing habits without incorporating the possibilities of the new technology. The data from our research seem to affirm these assumptions. Amongst the adopters of DTV, only a minority can be labelled as ‘intense users’, whereas the majority of users are ‘specialized’ or ‘limited users’, indicating that they only use a few applications at maximum. This shows that in Flanders, a large gap exists between adoption diffusion and use diffusion. Furthermore, intense and specialized users tend to focus on content applications and leave the more interactive applications un(der)used. However, this quantitative focus lacks explanation power in terms of the why and how of these findings. These shortcomings will also be critically assessed and an outline for future research into this matter will be sketched.
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Keywords: adoption diffusion; applications; diffusion of innovations; domestication; interactive digital television; use diffusion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ghent University, Belgium

Publication date: 2011-03-30

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  • The International Journal of Digital Television will describe and explain the transition to digital TV and wider trends in television. As switchover happens across the globe and television's operations and audiences are transformed, the International Journal of Digital Television will be at the forefront of efforts to understand the changes and developments.
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