Three out of four people with broadband multitask by using a mobile device while watching television. One in four even watches multiple video sources at the same time. These are some of the findings of the fourth annual Ericsson TV and Media ConsumerLab report. They paint a picture of people that are increasingly using multiple screens and extending their viewing experiences.

The Ericsson report suggests that 72% of respondents use mobile devices, including smartphone, tablet or laptop, for video viewing at least weekly and 42% do so outside the home.

The main use of another screen while watching television is to read email, as reported by 63% of respondents. 56% said they used one at least once a week to “kill time” and unrelated to what they were watching, although 49% said they used an app or browser to find out more about what they were watching and 40% said they used social forums to discuss what they were viewing.

A surprising 25% said they used another screen to watch two or more programmes or live events at the same time. The figure rises to 44% among those that described their primary use of television as being able to watch live events other than sports. It is over 30% for sports fans.

The research was conducted through 15,000 online interviews with broadband users aged 16-59 in Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The study is based on self-reported usage, which may not necessarily correspond to actual behaviour, but reflects their perceived priorities or assumed preferences.

Respondents reported on average that they watch television for around 14 hours a week, although ratings data suggest twice that much television viewing.

The top viewing priority is apparently watching movies, reported by 66% of respondents. Movies actually constitute a relative small proportion of television viewing, although may have a higher priority in total screen time. Watching television series was reported by 62%, followed by relaxing in front of the television without any effort at 61%.

Over half of the respondents state that their computer and internet connection are integral parts of their TV and video consumption habits. The research shows a small but significant increase in online viewing among those in age ranges over 35 years old. Some 40% of those aged 60-69 reported more than weekly usage, bearing in mind that this was of those with access to broadband.

The top five features respondents reported as important in television and video experiences are to be free of advertisements, high-definition quality, available on demand, super simple to use, with à la carte content.

The five lowest rating features are personalised apps and widgets overlaid over programming, video telephony, apps on television, watching different camera angles, and interactive television.

In terms of willingness to pay, 35% of respondents said they were prepared to pay for high-definition quality and 30% said they would pay for services that are free of advertising. 25% said they would pay for extreme quality, such as ultra-high-definition or 4K resolution.

The study suggests that consumers are currently picking and mixing their own viewing solutions, from a combination of traditional television, digital video recording, online streaming, subscription video services, and downloading, both from legitimate sources and pirate copies.

Anders Erlandsson, Senior Researcher at Ericsson ConsumerLab, said: “The quest has begun to become the first easy to use, à la carte TV solution provider that aggregates consumer TV and video needs.”

The conclusion is summed up by Niclas Ekdahl, the chief executive of Viaplay, who says: “I don’t think that the mass market will tolerate less than having it all in one, or at the most two, different services.”

TV and Media: Identifying the needs of tomorrow’s video consumers, an Ericsson consumer insight summary report, is available from the Ericsson web site.