Cartoons are more popular than news with South Korean smartphone users, especially during the tedious morning commute, according to a survey seen Monday.

The cartoon application got an average of 372,000 hits a day compared with 280,000 for news and 275,000 for weather, said the survey by LG U+ (formerly LG Telecom).

The country's third-largest mobile operator said the data came from an analysis of its 170,000 smartphone users in July.

Cartoon viewing nearly doubled from 6 to 8 a.m. compared with other times of the day as more people "assuage boredom in subways and buses during the morning commute", said the company in a report.

The number of users viewing the weather app spiked between 7 and 9 a.m. and 4 and 6 p.m. as people prepared for journeys to and from work.

The popularity of an app to find restaurants and nightspots surged from 4 to 6 p.m. as users planned after-hours hangouts before leaving the office.

Those accessing the app to view Cyworld, a social networking site and the Korean equivalent of Facebook, spiked from 6 to 10 p.m.

South Korea's mobile phone market is one of the world's most vibrant, with 45 million users in a population of 49 million. But smartphones have a relatively small share, implying huge growth potential.