A recent survey by Accenture claims to confirm a significant shift in viewing habits in the United States and the United Kingdom. Over a quarter of those surveyed said they were viewing online video on the television through a broadband connection, in addition to traditional television programming. More than a third of respondents said they would be prepared to pay to see their favourite shows continue online.

“The developments in digital content, experiences and their monetization are disrupting the status quo at a rate and extent we have not seen before. No media or entertainment business will remain untouched by their influence,” writes Marco Vernocchi, the global managing director, for Accenture Media and Entertainment.

Consumers, no longer beholden to schedules, tethered to one location or tied to a screen, are in charge and at the center of everything. They are becoming creators, as passive consumption becomes active participation and mass media becomes personal.

“We are seeing a seismic shift in consumer viewing habits,” according to Robin Murdoch, a managing director in Accenture’s Media & Entertainment industry group. “The connected consumer is now comfortable viewing TV shows and video on a variety of screens, as well as sharing opinions of that content via social channels or recommendation engines.”

In the United States, 27% of consumers surveyed subscribe to over-the-top services, such as Netflix. In the United Kingdom, 26% subscribe to or access services like Netflix, LoveFilm, Sky Go or Now TV from Sky, or the BBC iPlayer.

Accenture suggests that these figures are comparable to satellite penetration, although in most cases they are complementary and supplementary, rather than substitutes.

16% of those surveyed in the United States subscribe to video services available through games consoles, compared to 9% in the United Kingdom. 4% in the United States use other set-top box services, such as Apple TV, Google TV or Boxee, compared to 3% in the United Kingdom.

People are increasingly using mobile devices such as smartphones to watch short videos and clips, as reported by 24% of respondents. 15% used them to watch user-generated content, 6% to watch live programming, and 4% to watch full-length movies and television programmes.

More than a third of those surveyed said they would be winning to pay to see a favourite show continue. Of them, over half said they would pay between 1-4 dollars or pounds. Nearly three-quarters of 18-24 year-olds in the United States and over half of those in that age range in the United Kingdom said they would pay.

Younger viewers are unsurprisingly leading the way, with over 80% of those aged 18- to 24 in the United States watching some online video, with 60% watching at least a quarter of their video over broadband. In the United Kingdom the figures were 75% and over 50% respectively.

The survey also showed that 35% of 18-24 year-olds are interested in finding out about videos that friends have watched, compared to 11% of those aged 45 or older.

“The new media landscape has enabled curating, consuming, and commenting on TV and video content to become a simple, seamless experience,” said Murdoch. “With youth leading the movement, we anticipate that these trends will intensify in the coming years.”

The Accenture Pulse of Media survey is based on an online omnibus survey of over 2,000 adult consumers in the United States and 1,000 in the United Kingdom, representative of the general population. The implications are covered in an Accenture report Taking the Pulse: Re-examining content, experiences and monetization in the digital world.