SYDNEY: Australian homes are increasingly connected via multiple screens, with the number having access to four screens – television, computer, smartphone and tablet – up by two thirds in the space of a year.

The latest Australian Multi-Screen Report, combining data from the OzTAM and Regional TAM television ratings panels and Nielsen's national NetView panel and Consumer & Media View database, found that, in the first quarter of 2013, 27% of homes now had four screens, compared to 16% a year earlier.

Despite this proliferation of new technologies, the television remained the focus of attention, with people watching an average of 92 hours and 39 minutes per month, or more than three hours a day.

The great majority of viewing – 93% – was done live. Playback viewing within seven days of broadcast accounted for 6 hours and 48 minutes.

Internet-connected TVs were present in 21% of homes, up from 15% a year earlier, while 53% had DVRs.

The proportion of homes with tablets had doubled to 31%, said the report, while that of adult Australians owning smartphones increased from 48% to 61%. Tablet owners spent an average 50 minutes a month watching online video, while smartphone owners spent 80 minutes doing so.

The increased penetration of these devices has also led to a rise in multi-screening. Some 74% of online Australians aged over 16 said they had engaged in this activity, up from about 60% in 2011, with 54% of that group claiming to do so every day.

Younger age groups were more likely to use TV and internet simultaneously, while women did so more frequently than men.

"While people watch around three hours of television a day on the traditional TV set, they are also embracing other devices to suit the occasion and enhance their viewing experience," noted Deborah Wright, Regional TAM chairperson.

"This creates rich opportunities for media owners, content producers and marketers to engage audiences across multiple platforms and keep viewers close to the content," she added.

Data sourced from OzTAM; additional content by Warc staff