Between 30 and 49 percent of the population in provincial towns access the Internet on a daily basis in 30 provinces across the country, a survey found.

Survey findings released on April 17 said the people go online to read news, google information, send emails and listen to music just like their counterparts in the country's key cities, the survey noted.

Conducted by TKL Media, a media subsidiary of Vietnam leading advertising company Dat Viet VAC Group Holdings, the survey interviewed high and middle-income people aged between 23 and 45 in four parts of the country: the north, centre, south-east and the Mekong Delta.

Pollsters of project Gamma, as the survey was called, presented interview questionnaires to 50 households in each province during last December and January. This is the first project of its kind in the country, according to Nguyen Thi Truc Mai, managing director of TKL.

The project aims to compare media habits in provincial towns with those in key cities like Hanoi , Hai Phong, Da Nang , Nha Trang, HCM City and Can Tho.

Usually, statistics were only available for the six key cities, not the smaller towns, she added.

The survey's findings testify to the increasing role of the Internet, which has become the second most popular media in the country after television.

Television is still the king of media in the provinces. Four in five respondents said they switch on to TV channels everyday to follow news, serials and movies. Among the broadcasters, Vietnam Television (VTV) has biggest market shares in the north and central regions of the country at 60 percent and 51 percent respectively.

HCM City Television (HTV) and Vinh Long Television (VLTV) are most popular broadcasters in Southeast and Mekong Delta respectively, accounting for 43 and 29 percent of the viewer ship in these regions.

Cable television packages are gaining ground, the survey noted, especially in provinces neighbouring HCM City . Almost half of the survey respondents said they watch cable channels every day.

In northern provinces , more than 50 percent of the population subscribe to either cable or digital TV.

Regarding the print media, 54 percent of respondents said they read newspapers everyday, while just one-fifth listened to the radio.

Poor programmes were blamed for the lack of interest in the radio.

The Gamma project was carried out at a cost of 600 million VND (29,000 USD). TKL Media said they would try to conduct the survey every two years to keep up with latest developments in local media habits./.