PARIS: Media usage habits are continuing to evolve in France as digital platforms gain ground in the market, figures from Médiamétrie, the research firm, have shown.

The measurement company reported that the country's internet population increased in size to 34.7 million people in December last year, an improvement of 3.3% on an annual basis.

Furthermore, the number of people accessing this medium at least once a day rose by 12.5% to 19.8 million, with the average online session also ten minutes longer year-on-year, at 1 hour 22 minutes.

Elsewhere, the amount of time netizens spent on Web 2.0 properties such as blogs and social networks jumped by 112% in this period.

More specifically, the membership level of social networks tripled, with the uptick in interest in this channel said to be one of the defining characteristics of 2009.

Within this, Facebook's membership in France climbed from 12.2 million to 20.7 million over the course of 2009, with the average user spending 4.5 hours on this platform each month.

Twitter's user base expanded by an even more impressive 500% in this timeframe, to an estimated 1.6 million people overall.

The smartphone penetration rate also reached 16% in the third quarter of 2009 compared with 10% six months earlier, with nearly three-quarters of this group regularly accessing the mobile web.

With regard to broadcast content, Médiamétrie revealed that 20% of households owned at least one PVR, encouraging a shift in viewing habits.

It also found that around 10.6 million people had used a video-on-demand service – either through their TV or on the internet – to play back material in the 30 days before its analysis was conducted.

Some 7.3 million consumers, or 14% of the population, had watched this kind of programming online, with both of these developments likely to grow further going forward.

Data sourced from AFP/Le Figaro; additional content by Warc staff