The Intersection of Audiences and Production in Contemporary Theory – Volume 2
Edited By Rebecca Ann Lind
Contributors reflect varied perspectives in their approaches to the spaces formed as a result of rapidly developing and swiftly deploying new communications technologies and social software. They shine multiple spotlights into the intersection of audiences and production, providing a guide toward a nuanced understanding of the interstitial spaces.
Chapter Eight: The Mobile Conversion, Internet Regression, and the Repassification of the Media Audience (Philip M. Napoli, Jonathan A. Obar)
C H A P T E R E I G H T The Mobile Conversion, Internet Regression, and the Repassification of the Media Audience Philip M. Napoli and Jonathan A. Obar n late 2010, mobile broadband Internet subscriptions overtook the number of subscriptions over fixed technologies worldwide (Bold & Davidson, 2012). This growth is expected to continue, with projections suggesting that mobile subscriptions will rise from 61% of all broadband connections in developing countries in 2012 to 84% in 2016 (Bold & Davidson, 2012). There are a number of important dimensions of this ongoing diffusion of mobile Internet access. First, it is important to recognize that, for an increas- ing proportion of the population worldwide, mobile-based forms of Internet access represent the primary means of going online (see Napoli & Obar, 2014). Furthermore, for some sectors, mobile-based forms of Internet access are the only means for connecting online. According to one recent estimate, there were approximately 14 million mobile-only Internet users in the world in 2011, with the number expected to increase to 788 million by 2016 (Horner, 2011). Naturally, these patterns are accompanied by declines associated with more traditional forms of Internet access (Napoli & Obar, 2014). Much has been written about the tremendous benefits, and even the transformative capacity, associated with this global mobile diffusion (e.g., Castells, Fernandez-Ardevol, Qiu, & Sey, 2007). The rapid, global diffusion of smartphones provides users with unprecedented levels of mobile infor- mation access and communicative capacity. The benefits of this diffusion of mobile forms of Internet access are...
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