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AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO MEDIA DISPLACEMENT STUDY: SELECTIVE DISPLACEMENT BASED ON THE NEWS CONTENT
Unformatted Document Text:  Media Displacement 7 Himmelweit, Oppenheim, and Vince (1958) argued that the media experiencing most displacement at the onset of a new medium were those serving the same functions or offering the same gratifications as the new medium. For example, television displaced radio listening, movie attendance and comic reading because television serves the same “escape” function of its predecessors (Himmelweit et al., 1958). Lazarsfeld’s (1940) finding that radio did not decrease newspaper reading may be because radio and newspaper serve different functions (Kayany & Yelsma, 2000). If television use provides a viable means for satisfying an escapist motive, magazines and music may be functional alternatives for gratifying that motive. In the same manner, a socially active individual who interacts often with other people may have limited desires to use television for companionship. On the contrary, a person with fewer social ties may rely on television to substitute the lack of social companionship (Rosengren & Windahl, 1972). However, if there is no overlapping function between the new and the older media to fulfill audiences’ goals and needs, displacement hardly occurs. Studies that have considered people’s uses of communications media within a multiple-medium environment found that different media may be used to fulfill different needs (see Flanagan & Metzger, 2001). Content as a unit of observation in media displacement study As is suggested in literature, in understanding effect of a new medium on existing media it is not sufficient to observe only whether the new medium displaces existing media. For a better understanding of the effect, we should look at changes in the use of the older media at different levels from the previous studies. The functional displacement theory implies that media displacement should be explained in terms of function, rather than medium per se. Each medium has multiple functions and each function is independently susceptible to displacement by a new

Authors: Jeong, Irkwon. and Li, Zhan.
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Media Displacement
7
Himmelweit, Oppenheim, and Vince (1958) argued that the media experiencing most
displacement at the onset of a new medium were those serving the same functions or offering the
same gratifications as the new medium. For example, television displaced radio listening, movie
attendance and comic reading because television serves the same “escape” function of its
predecessors (Himmelweit et al., 1958). Lazarsfeld’s (1940) finding that radio did not decrease
newspaper reading may be because radio and newspaper serve different functions (Kayany &
Yelsma, 2000). If television use provides a viable means for satisfying an escapist motive,
magazines and music may be functional alternatives for gratifying that motive. In the same
manner, a socially active individual who interacts often with other people may have limited
desires to use television for companionship. On the contrary, a person with fewer social ties may
rely on television to substitute the lack of social companionship (Rosengren & Windahl, 1972).
However, if there is no overlapping function between the new and the older media to
fulfill audiences’ goals and needs, displacement hardly occurs. Studies that have considered
people’s uses of communications media within a multiple-medium environment found that
different media may be used to fulfill different needs (see Flanagan & Metzger, 2001).
Content as a unit of observation in media displacement study
As is suggested in literature, in understanding effect of a new medium on existing media
it is not sufficient to observe only whether the new medium displaces existing media. For a
better understanding of the effect, we should look at changes in the use of the older media at
different levels from the previous studies. The functional displacement theory implies that media
displacement should be explained in terms of function, rather than medium per se. Each medium
has multiple functions and each function is independently susceptible to displacement by a new


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