Selective motion: media displacement among older Internet users

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An increasing number of studies explore various aspects of new media use in later life, but most ignore the parallel use of traditional mass media among older adults. Relying on technological and functional approaches in communications research, this study explores how media displacement processes serve as mechanisms that regulate seniors’ media consumption in various sociocultural environments. The study is based on a survey of 6989 Internet users aged 60 and older from six countries (Austria, Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain), and compares usage rates and time spent using old media with that allotted to consumption of their digital equivalents. Furthermore, it examines levels of media displacement in different countries and explores the factors explaining such displacement. Results indicate a high media displacement with regard to newspapers and magazines, followed by book reading, with a relatively marginal transition to online TV and radio. Displacement levels vary among participating countries and are highest in Spain and Israel, with differences remaining significant even after controlling for background characteristics. The most significant displacement predictor, however, is the variety of users’ online activities. These findings suggest that despite the increasing percentage of older Internet users, this audience tends to adhere to familiar media practices. Nevertheless, it also exhibits selective displacement that is highly dependent on users’ media habits, the relative advantages of each medium and sociocultural contexts. Such selectivity may be considered a specific strategy for setting, pursuing and maintaining personal goals in later life.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1269-1280
Number of pages12
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number9
StatePublished - 29 Jul 2019


  • Communication
  • Internet
  • displacement
  • mass media
  • old age

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences


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