erica cheng

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Reading summary: Social Aspects of New Media Technologies

The reading provides various ways to examine how a society accepts new media technologies. It helps me set up my research framework in several aspects:

1. Is 3G mobile data service a critical mass being achieved, or failed?

To answer this question, first I need to do the uses-and-gratifications line of research. Besides, I plan to focus on the "specific" audiences the mobile data service targets. Also, it is helpful to divide residential customers to examine their behaviors and attitude toward this new medium technology, to see in what ways the diffusion of innovation can work.

Furthermore, I plan to stress on how different societies/nations accept the new technology. For example, 3G service is very popular in Japan. I think one of the reason is that most Japanese workers commute through subway, hence they can browse the internet or read the downloaded content via 3G cellular networks while taking subway. However, in geographically much bigger country like United States, commuters are likely to commute through driving. Thus, they may prefer listening to radio or mp3 player rather than reading, in order not to distract themselves from driving. Above is only my personl opinion and speculation, I need to do more research/survey to strengthen this point at issue.

Also, I want to say that the classic diffusion curve shown in FIG. 16.1 explains the necessity of 3G networks prompting. Since the mobile voice market in the developed countries have become saturated, coming to the final stage of the level of adoption in the curve. The mobile operators must expand their market and revenues by pushing 3G data services.

2. What are the diffusion thresholds in 3G data service?

Since 3G data service is the new business coming out of existing cellular phone industry, it needs to persuade existing users to shift to the new service. Nonetheless, it is still in doubt if there is the need and moreover, other new media technologies such as VOIP may challenge 3G business and even take away its market share. The mobile operators should prove that the service is really "enhanced" and necessary, as well as offer the consumer-acceptable price to compete with rival technologies.

The reading also suggests that it is crucial for a new medium to get advertisers' supports. Given the process of the adoption of FM radio as an example, it says that a new medium technology needs substantial finance to attract audiences, so as to attract advertiser to pour money in the new medium service. The example makes I wonder that if someday the 3G service really gain foothold in the market, will the advertisment accompanied with the data delivery become another important revenue for the cellular phone industry?

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