NEW YORK: The number of US consumers using their PS3 and XBox consoles to access entertainment content is set to grow, as media habits continue to evolve.

Currently, 30 million people use the consoles to watch movies and TV shows.

Nielsen data showing that 4% of gamers are in the 2-17 age demographic, making them attractive to marketers.

The data also reveal that Xbox users in the US are active during the competitive prime TV periods.

A separate report from the UK's BBC reports that up to 10% of programming on its iPlayer - which streams the broadcaster's TV shows online, similar to Hulu - is watched through video games consoles.

Broadcasters and cable operators keen to hang onto their viewers are now facing up to the threat posed by consoles. 

Peter Chernin, former president of News Corp, is said to have approached Microsoft about the possibility of creating an original programming channel on XBox.

Netflix also currently provides a console-accessed movie service which allows friends to watch entertainment content together regardless of geographical separation.

A key advantage of viewing on consoles is that they allow people to share comments about the TV shows and films being watched.

Another innovation has come from Sony's PlayStation Network, which earlier this year announced they would be streaming Major League Baseball games through its PS3 player in partnership with

Netflix are also talking to Sony about developing movie services through the PS3 and are hoping to access Wii players too.

Such trends reflect the importance of the games console for the media business, which is already facing fragmentation at every turn.

The days when media planners could rely on the TV set being the entry point of choice for entertainment seem long gone.

Data sourced from Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff