NEW YORK/GLOBAL: A rapidly developing digital video landscape and the growth of social media has encouraged consumers to take more control over their choice of programming, a new survey of global viewing habits has revealed.

More than three-quarters (76%) of global consumers say they "enjoy the freedom of being connected anywhere, anytime" and, while TV remains their screen of choice for viewing most forms of video content, correlating social media interaction is important for at least half of them.

Coupled with the proliferation of new devices around the world, this trend is tipping the scales from video providers to viewers and represents "a huge challenge" for brands and content providers vying for consumers' attention.

These are among the key findings in the Nielsen Global Digital Landscape Survey, a poll of 30,000 online consumers that the US research firm conducted in 60 countries.

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"The media industry must embrace the changing landscape and adapt strategies to fit with a new reality, offering engaging and relevant content that is easily accessible across devices and channels," observed Megan Clarken, evp of Nielsen Global Watch Product Leadership.

Social media usage is a key part of this changing landscape with the survey discovering that more than half (53%) of global respondents like to keep up with shows so they can join in online conversations.

Meanwhile, 49% say they watch live video programming more if it has a social media tie-in and 47% use social media while watching videos.

And this second-screening activity is particularly pronounced in Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, the report found.

For example, nearly two-thirds (65%) of Asia-Pacific respondents and 57% of their African/Middle Eastern counterparts watch live programming if it has social media content.

In addition, approaching two-thirds of respondents in Asia-Pacific (64%) and Africa/Middle East (62%) say they like to keep up with shows so they can join conversations on social media.

"The second, third and sometimes fourth screen is becoming a fundamental extension of the viewing experience," Clarken said.

"While multiple screens give viewers more options, they also give content providers and advertisers more opportunities and ways to reach and engage with viewers," she added.

Also of note for advertisers, the report found that 65% of global viewers prefer to watch video programming live, 63% prefer to watch on a bigger screen than a mobile device, while 67% switch to another channel when an advertisement is shown.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff