Uses and Gratification: Understanding the Motivations to Use Mobile TV

Choi Y.K., Kim J., McMillan S. (2009) Motivators for the Intention to Use Mobile TV: A Comparison of South Korean Males and Females. International Journal of Advertising, 28(1), pp. 147–167

This paper talks about the intention of use of Mobile TV among undergraduate male and female students in South Korea. This research is primarily conducted to predict advertising patterns for Mobile TV worldwide as this technology gets adopted and since South Korean students are early adopter, they are used as a case study for this research. The paper indicates that they key moderating variable in consumers behavior in this case is the Consumer Gender.

I looked at this research’s findings from the lens of Uses and Gratifications theory as well as Christiansen’s theory of Innovation with respect of disruptive technologies.

Uses and Gratifications Theory:

The uses and gratifications theory states that the audience attempts to fulfill certain psychological needs in media choice and these gratifications sought motivates the use of media. (Lichtestien & Rosenfeld, 1984) These choices are made because the user believes that the media used will satisfy his needs.

Thus for the use of mobile TV the motivations antecedents found were:

  1. Entertainment: Men were found to use mobile TV for hobbies and entertainment and women were seen to enjoy chatting and exchanging information with friends.
  2. Social Interaction: Females were seen to be more motivated than men to watch television for ‘pasting time’ or ‘companionship’. Girls preferred to email and chat with friends, thus proving a vast difference in social interaction between males and females.
  3. Permanent Access: Since females were seen to use mobile phone more frequently for various purposes, they valued permanent access of a mobile phone more than males.
  4. Pass Time: Media use as a pastime in mobile phone has been previously established. This use has been linked to playing video games or watchable media. However, there was no significant gender difference in usage with respect to passing time.
  5. Fashion/Status: Men tend to be more excited about owning the device and perceive the ownership of a mobile device as a status symbol while females were more interested in the generic calling function of the device.

Thus, the high adoption of mobile TV among Korean students can be linked directly to a gratification based on the five uses stated above.

Christiansen’s theory of Innovation: Disruptive Innovation

Christiansen, in his book Seeing What’s Next, describes ‘New Market Disruptive Innovation’ as products or services that help people do more conveniently what they are already trying to do. Mobile TV being a disruptive innovation is seen to be enabling undergraduate students to fulfill their needs like communication and entertainment on the move and the ability to have permanent access to both.

The study finally indicates that advertisements should be targeted based on gender as females use the web for interpersonal communication and males for entertainment. The reason for this preference has been explained as two fold. First, previous research has indicated that males perceive technology more positively than their counterpart, who has been observed to be far more anxious in adopting technology changes. The second is the nature of the medium itself. Since females are seen to be more network oriented in communications male communication pattern are based on the notion of social hierarchy, usage intentions differ. Another large reason for adoption of mobile TV has been need to express themselves as fashion/status for both men and women.

Thus, for advertisement purposes the study indicates the use of Uses and Gratification theory to target females by accentuating the value of intimacy and support from family and target males on the concept of independence, fun lifestyle and social status for selling Mobile TV.


Choi Y.K., Kim J., McMillan S. (2009) Motivators for the Intention to Use Mobile TV: A Comparison of South Korean Males and Females. International Journal of Advertising, 28(1), pp. 147–167

Christensen, C. M., Anthony, S. D. and Roth, E.A. (2004). Seeing what’s next. (pp. 3-27). Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press

Ruggiero T. (2000) Uses and Gratification Theory In the 21st Century. Mass Communication and Society, 3(1), 3-37

Hanjun K. (2005) Internet Uses and Gratifications: A Structural Equation Model of Interactive Advertising. Journal of Advertising Research, 32 (5), pp. 30-42.


Filed under COM546

2 responses to “Uses and Gratification: Understanding the Motivations to Use Mobile TV

  1. Pingback: Week 5 – We’ve been down this road before « COM546 : Evolutions

  2. Nice break down of information Navni coupled with interesting analysis. Your slides were engaging and uncluttered. I appreciated you allowing the time for us to have a vibrant discussion around uses and gratifications and why (or why not) would we use MDBs. Great job!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s