By Kathy Gibson in Stockholm, Sweden – The way we consume media and entertainment is changing rapidly in a shift that is both being enabled by newer and faster networks, and driving the need for these networks to offer continuous improvements.
An Ericsson ConsumerLab report finds that more than 72% of respondents now watch television and other video content on their mobile devices each week.

Anders Erlandsson, senior researcher at Ericsson ConsumerLab told an African media delegation yesterday that the findings reveal the importance of mobile devices in the world of media and entertainment.

Importantly, 42% of those that consume TV and video on their mobile devices do so outside of their homes. Meanwhile, 75% of respondents multi-task by using their mobile devices while watching TV – and a quarter of respondents take this one step further by watching multiple video sources simultaneously.

And an interesting finding is that this viewing behaviour doesn’t change significantly from region to region, but is more likely to be driven by the user’s personality – regardless of his or her access to network connectivity, Erlandsson says.

Even late adopters are becoming advanced video users, with 41% of 65 to 69 year-olds streaming on-demand or time-shifted video content, including YouTube at least once per week.

As on-demand video becomes more available and popular, the value of linear TV appears to be more focused on live sports, events and other content with a high “here and now” appeal. This kind of content is still linked to “social viewing” where people are likely to watch in groups in a specific location.

It’s not only content from traditional broadcasters that is being viewed: user-generated content is becoming more popular for both entertainment as well as education, teaching and product reviews. This is borne out by the fact the 82% of respondents use YouTube or a similar service at least once a month.

Erlandsson believes we are at the beginning of a new age of aggregated, pick-and-mix TV solutions that can be tailored to each user’s specific needs. To this end, consumers rake having an a la carte TV offering as the fifth most important aspect of their viewing experience.

As more devices capable of streaming video become available, user behaviour and expectations are changing. TV viewing is fast becoming a continuous activity rather than a scheduled one, and users now expect to be able to access content anywhere and at any time.

Social media is also becoming an integral part of the TV viewing experience, with people using social networks and discussing the content while watching TV.

Mobile phones and laptops are used to discuss TV content and are now also becoming part of the home TV setup. They not only allow social interaction, but also enable Internet multi-tasking while viewing, the report found.

Overall, people are watching less content on their TVs or desktop PCs, but have increased the time they spend watching video on their laptops, smartphones and tablets – and increasingly they are watching on these devices outside of their homes.