Social TV viewing is growing into a mass-market phenomenon, according to a study included in Ericsson ConsumerLab’s “TV & Video Consumer Trend Report 2012.” Study results show that 62% of consumers use social media while watching TV. That’s up 18 percentage points as compared to 2011. Moreover, Ericsson ConsumerLab found that 67% of consumers use tablets, smartphones or laptops to watch TV programming, and 60% use on-demand services on a weekly basis.

Looking a bit more deeply into social TV viewing by gender, Ericsson researchers found that 66% of women engage in social TV viewing as compared to 58% of men. In terms of activity, 25% of consumers use social media to discuss what they’re watching while they’re watching it.

“Mobile devices are an important part of the TV experience, as 67 percent of consumers use smartphones, tablets, or laptops for TV and video viewing,” commented senior Ericsson ConsumerLab advisor Niklas Ronnblom in a press release.

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“Furthermore, sixty percent of consumers say they use on-demand services on a weekly basis. Watching TV on the move is growing in popularity, and 50 percent of the time spent watching TV and video on the smartphone is done outside the home, where mobile broadband connections are facilitating the increase.”

A small percentage of consumers surveyed– 8%– said they will cut back on their TV subscriptions in future. But as a counterpoint to that result, some other respondents said they were willing to pay more for “an enhanced viewing experience,” according to Ericsson’s press release. For example, 41% of respondents said they were willing to pay more for TV and video content in HD.

Personal choice is a big factor for social TV viewers. More than half said they want to be able to choose their own TV and video content. “As the number of screens and services increase, people are eagerly looking for an easy-to-use, aggregated service that can bring everything together,” Ronnblom said. “It should allow consumers to mix on-demand and linear TV including live content, facilitate content discovery, leverage the value of social TV and provide seamless access across devices.”

The Ericsson research was based on data representing more than 460 million consumers collected in Brazil, Chile, China, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the U.K. and the U.S. Researchers conducted 12,000 quantitative online interviews and 14 qualitative interviews.

Image courtesy of flickr user bendodson.

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