Comparative Media Studies in the Digital Age| Two Levels of Digitalization and Internet Use Across Europe, China, and the U.S.

Chris Chao Su, Jun Liu, Baohua Zhou


Although studies acknowledge that the level of digitalization in the media domain plays an important role for Internet use, conceptual and operational ambiguities remain as to whether digitalization speaks to an infrastructural attribute of societies and countries or instead refers to digitized media preferences and use of individuals. Using survey data from Europe, China, and the United States, this study examines both micro (individual) and macro (infrastructural) levels of digitalization and their interaction effects on use of the Internet. Through multilevel regression modeling, this study reveals that individual-level digitalization negatively relates to Internet news consumption, but positively relates to use of the Internet for other purposes. In addition, it shows that infrastructural-level digitalization only positively and significantly affects the use of the Internet for news consumption and for work-related purposes. The study further reveals cross-level interactions of digitalization on Internet use.


digitalization, media use, infrastructure, individual, comparison

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