Innovative Converged Service and Its Adoption, Use and Diffusion: A Holistic Approach to Diffusion of Innovations, Combining Adoption-Diffusion and Use-Diffusion Paradigms

Article excerpt

1. Research objective

The accelerating pace of progress in digital convergence is resulting in an increasing intersection between voice and data communications, and broadcasting and computer technologies, with the broadband network as their point of convergence (Baldwin et al. 1996). One of the consequences of this rapidly-expanding phenomenon of convergence for users is the changing spectrum of choice in new media. With converged services and devices, offering more than one function, becoming the market norm, the choice for today's consumers is about which product combines features that best suit their various needs and addresses the most complete array of those needs.

IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) is a leading example of this new generation of converged media. IPTV, a superior, interactive alternative to one-way media, like traditional TV services, allows viewers to send and receive voice and data traffic via the television set, connected to the internet. The introduction of IPTV, as a full-triple play solution, pushing the horizon of digital convergence further out, has also had the effect of taking the already intense competition in the TV broadcasting market, pitting digital CATV and digital satellite TV against traditional terrestrial TV, to a new level of complexity.

Meanwhile, the accelerating innovation in the field of convergence technology is triggering active research on the process of diffusion of innovative converged media and devices. As a general rule, the speed of diffusion of an innovative product is influenced both by the characteristics of the new product and the characteristics of consumers (Shih, Venkatesh 2004). Attempts to understand the process of diffusion of new products or new technologies among consumers have been so far made principally in the field of innovation diffusion. Traditional theories on innovation diffusion were focused mainly on adoption. In recent years, however, the focus has been gradually shifting toward the use aspect of innovations.

Existing studies in innovation diffusion draw mostly upon Rogers' (1995) innovation-adoption theory and acceptance diffusion models such as the technology acceptance model (TAM). The framework of adoption diffusion, proposed by Rogers, in which the focus is placed on the process of consumers' adoption of new products or services has later become the root of newer theories such as the theory of reasoned action (TRA), the theory of planned behavior (TPB)--a theory expanding on TRA--and the technology acceptance model (TAM)--a modified TRA. Meanwhile, limitations inherent in this adoption-centered approach to the diffusion of innovations have been pointed out by several researchers (Gatignon, Robertson 1985).

Shih and Venkatesh (2004) recently proposed a new innovation diffusion model they baptized "use-diffusion model", as opposed to "adoption-diffusion models". Shih and Venkatesh (2004) argued for the need to shift the focus of diffusion research from 'adoption' to 'use' as a solution to overcome the limitations of traditional approaches in diffusion research while having TAM or other adoption-centered theoretical frameworks. In this alternative approach aimed at moving beyond the adoption-centered paradigm of diffusion, consumers' usage patterns with products or services they are currently using are important predictors for the diffusion process of new products or services. More specifically, how frequently a consumer uses a technology product or service and how varied his / her use of the same product or service may be can explain and determine his / her behavior adopted toward new products or services, and thereby, also the process of their diffusion, according to Shih and Venkatesh (2004).

Also of note is that in this new model, user categories, segmented by usage patterns, plays a similarly prominent role as the innovation adopter groups in traditional adoption-diffusion models.

In this study, a use-diffusion model was combined with a traditional adoption-diffusion model for a more holistic approach to the diffusion of IPTV services, a representative converged media service. …