UK consumers are enthusiastic about online distribution of films - but few are willing to pay.

That's the finding of a survey commissioned by media lawyers Wiggin. Entertainment Media Research spoke to 1,608 UK consumers aged 15-54 in January 2008 and found strong interest in online entertainment, particularly films.

But 70% want on-demand content to be free even if that means interruption by advertisements.

Thatcompares to 15% opting for a reasonable monthly subscription for unlimited content and 15% preferring to pay a reasonable fee for every programme watched.

More generally, the survey suggests that the internet is widely seen as a serious platform for distributing content, particularlyon-demand programming.

Moviesare thebiggest area of demand with 48% saying they are definitely interested and 84% interested in on access to recently-released films.

27% of respondents said that social networks should be the primary way to access video and music, rising to 40% for 20-24-year-old men.

Much free content has so far been provided by piracy but the survey suggests that there are legal means to dent illegal trade.

UK web users say that a legal threat would convince them not to illegally share files.

It found that 70% of those admiiting to downloading some copyright-protected content say they would stop if they received an email or call from their ISP. That percentage rises for teenagers (78% male, 75% female.)

The chance of being caught seems to be the prime motivating factor with 66% saying they would stop if they felt there was a higher chance of being prosecuted.