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Survey shows Internet-savvy S. Koreans spend more time online

South Koreans now spend more time online and on mobile phones than five years ago, a survey said Wednesday, the latest sign that the Internet has become a daily necessity for many people in one of the world's most wired countries.

   South Koreans surf the Internet for an average of 37 minutes during weekdays, up 25 minutes from 2005, according to the findings of a research institute of KBS, a major public television broadcaster in Seoul.

   The research also showed that South Koreans use mobile phones for 25 minutes on average during weekdays, soaring from just two minutes in 2005.

   In a densely populated country with 48 million people, South Koreans already own more than one mobile phone on average, and most homes and public and private offices have broadband Internet access.

   The survey, conducted on 3,428 adults in October and set to be released by KBS next month, did not mention smartphones, which have seen explosive growth in recent years following the introduction of Apple's iPhone.

   It also found that South Koreans watch more terrestrial networks -- the traditional source of news and entertainment -- than cable television programs. 

   South Koreans watch terrestrial television for an average of 1 hour, 46 minutes on weekdays, down by 23 minutes compared with 2005 figures. Meanwhile, South Koreans watch an average of about 23 minutes of cable or satellite television during weekdays, up from nine minutes in 2005.

   KBS and two others terrestrial television stations are competing against hundreds of cable channels that have sprung in recent years. Viewers have to pay a monthly fee of around 10,000 won (US$8.89) to get access to cable channels.

   The findings did not mention newspapers, another traditional form of information, which are being threatened as many people get news online.

(Yonhap News)