Online video is on the rise globally and TV viewers are increasingly multitasking — perhaps searching the web or using social media — during their tube time, a new survey suggests.

More than 90 per cent of respondents said they venture online (using laptops, smartphones, tablets and other devices) to watch videos, whether they be movies, TV shows, on-demand material or other content, according to consulting firm Accenture's 2013 Video-Over-Internet Consumer Survey.

The study is based on interviews conducted in February and March with approximately 3,500 men and women of different ages and living in six countries: Brazil, France, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.

The researchers discovered that today's consumers are increasingly a sophisticated bunch, with a growing number opting for a "second-screen" viewing experience — watching TV programming while using a companion device at the same time, for instance to seek background information or to post Twitter and Facebook updates about what they're seeing.

"Consumers do not just watch TV anymore," said Francesco Venturini, a lead member of Accenture’s communications, media & technology industry group.   

Some survey highlights:

  • 65 per cent of respondents reported watching video content over the web at least once a week.
  • 77 per cent said they regularly use a computer or laptop while watching TV. The use of tablet computers saw the most significant increase.
  • Consumers are using different devices to match the content they're viewing, for instance, watching full-length movies or TV programs via televisions (web-enabled or not) and desktop, laptop or tablet computers. Meanwhile, user-generated content and shorter video clips are often viewed on smartphones/cellphones.
  • 40 per cent said they're starting to tune into local video service providers and broadcasters for online video content, rather than the dominant global giants such as Netflix and YouTube, because they trust traditional broadcasters.

"As consumers get more comfortable in using more than one device it becomes important for broadcasters and content providers to follow them across all devices, offering compelling (but relevant to the device) content propositions and a consistent user experience," the researchers said.

The survey also polled viewers on their attitudes toward subscriptions for video content, with some saying they'd be willing to pay (e.g. up to $10 a month) for premium content if they're "getting specifically what they want."

One interesting note, however, was that respondents still remain fuzzy on how to access video content via newer web-enabled televisions, finding it easier to watch online video using computers or smartphones. 

"One would expect consumers to prefer to watch online video on a TV with direct internet connection that eliminates the need for a set-top box. Instead, preference for connected TV is decreasing," according to researchers.

Overall, the survey concludes that as consumers become more sophisticated in their video-viewing experience, expectations grow.

"Status quo operations are not an option. In the rapidly transforming world of broadcast, continuous innovation is mandatory to win the battle."