Do consumers dig it all? The interplay of digital and print formats in media

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Journal of Consumer Marketing





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Purpose: This study aims to explore consumers’ motivations in the adoption of either print or digital forms of media, given the fluctuation of trends and attitudes in magazine consumption in the USA. This paper utilizes cognitive lock-in and the power law of practice to further the understanding of digital adoption through an interdisciplinary lens. Design/methodology/approach: In this study, initially, five focus group sessions, including 53 qualifying non-student participants randomly placed into groups of 10 or 11, were held. Next, a 2 × 2 between-subjects quasi-experiment, using 163 undergraduate students at a large public university, was conducted. Findings: The findings show that although the digital medium is considered less expensive, more convenient and more environmentally friendly, the print medium is regarded as more familiar, personal and visual. Further, whether the media type is a book or a magazine, consumers report higher perceived value, hedonic value and attitude toward print versus digital media. Practical implications: The potential to digitally attract and lock-in consumers in the media industry has immense implications. Individuals consume media because of fashion marketing, personal space and advertisements, among other reasons. Originality/value: This paper contributes to existing research by uncovering qualitative and quantitative insights into media consumption through a multilayered analysis of focus group participants and a quantitative experiment. The findings indicate that both the power law of practice theory and cognitive lock-in are plausible explanations for the choice of print over digital media format. © 2016, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


Cognitive lock-in; Focus groups; Hedonic consumption; Mixed methods; Power law of practice; Semantic analysis



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