The French may grumble about the quality of fare served up by the tv networks, but they keep on watching. In fact, the average household is spending more time in front of the tv than ever before.

The annual market figures released by ratings service Mediametrie show that in 1990 the French spent an average of 304 minutes a day in front of their tv sets, up from 295 minutes in 1989.

Not surprisingly, it’s in those chilly winter months that most people turn to the tv for entertainment, and there is a marked preference for fiction. Annually, the normal viewer soaks up 290 hours of tv fiction; 106 hours of films; six hours of theater or classical music.

Private web TF1 continued to lead the pack by a mile, holding on to a 41.9% audience share (41% for the 6-to 14-year-olds). TFl’s rival of yesteryear, pubcaster Antenne-2, posted an aud share of 22%.

Mediametrie has vaguely encouraging news for communications giant Hachette, which took control of private web La Cinq in October. The network last year overtook veteran pubcaster FR3, scoring 11.7% against FR3’s 11%. La Cinq’s new management team is working on program changes that should be seen after April, and which the network hopes will further boost ratings. M6 brings up the tail with 7.3%.

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