PARIS: Many French consumers are interested in web-connected television sets, a medium which could draw this audience away from computer screens.

GroupM, part of WPP Group, surveyed a representative panel of 604 netizens in the country to gauge their attitudes and opinions.

It reported that 37% were at least familiar with the concept of TV sets possessing internet functionality, up on 26% in an equivalent study last year.

Almost half the sample currently utilised audiovisual platforms like catch-up services and digital programme guides, although 74% did so via a PC, measured against 42% for a set-top box.

Exactly 70% of those questioned agreed on-demand access to content they has missed would be the most attractive feature of televisions boasting online capabilities.

A further 64% liked the idea of detailed listings, 57% hoped to store and recall personal files, while 56% expressed an enthusiasm for receiving updates on travel, weather and similar subjects.

Elsewhere, 55% mentioned logging on to websites, 50% desired further information about broadcast material, 46% hoped to access free apps, and 45% wanted to visit video portals.

When assessing how this should impact their wider habits, 44% of GroupM's cohort believed watching material via such a route may well be "to the detriment of the computer."

"[This] will be an opportunity for television to recapture the young people deserting the small screen," said Sophie Gonçalves, GroupM's director of media studies.

The fact some features offered by next-generation TVs have already proved popular might act as a "passport" for the new form of technology, she added.

One slight surprise was that the public found little appeal in interactive tools including voting in reality TV competitions or participating in news polls, Gonçalves continued.

However, 74% of contributors were not willing to pay an additional sum for extra services provided by web-connected TVs, while 13% would do so.

Overall, 48% of interviewees regularly watched TV at the same time as surfing the net, with 46% visiting social networks and 44% looking for information covering a show currently on air.

Data sourced from Le Figaro; additional content by Warc staff