DUBLIN: Italians are the world leaders in viewing web video on their smartphones, according to research from Accenture.

The consultancy's 2011 Video-Over-Internet Consumer Usage Survey shows that 76% of Italian consumers watch video content on their mobile devices.

Across the seven nations covered by the survey - the US, UK, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Italy and Spain - the average was 64%.

More generally, 77% of global consumers polled by Accenture said they watch online video of some kind - whether through their desktops, laptops, web-enabled TVs or mobile devices.

This total includes 79% of males and 75% of females, 85% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 64% of over-65s.

Nation by nation, penetration was highest in Brazil (89%) and lowest in Germany (65%).

"Consumption of video over the Internet is now more than a millennial generation phenomenon; it is an activity that crosses all ages," the report added. "Video over the Internet is on its way to becoming the new mass media."

TV remains the most popular media channel measured by the Accenture study, with 92% of consumers owning - and using - a set.

But the global shift away from passive viewership of linear TV has deep implications for broadcasters, with 81% of consumers saying they "multi-task" while watching TV.

Just under half (48%) of TV viewers said they simultaneously use their laptop, while 41% use their mobile device.

"This fragmented viewing experience might at first appear to present challenges to groups such as traditional advertisers looking for a share of dedicated consumer 'eyeballs'," the report added.

"On the other hand, companies able to leverage this multi-device, multichannel experience to reinforce messages or content across devices have an opportunity to gain even more viewer awareness and loyalty."

One possible avenue for future growth could come with the growing popularity of tablet PCs.

Apple's iPad, the market leader, sold up to 8.8m units worldwide during Q1 2011, according to analysts' forecasts collated by business news source Fortune.

Just over half (54%) of consumers polled by Accenture said they would be "interested" in using their tablet PCs for "standard" video-on-demand and video catch-up viewing.

But 39% also said they would like to use the devices for interacting with live programs - such as placing bets or voting in polls - which could open up extra marketing opportunities for broadcasters.

"Consumers are already aware of how the tablet might change their viewing experience," the Accenture report added.

Data sourced from Accenture/Fortune; additional content by Warc staff