METRO News Plus, the revamped version of Metro News, is still banking on its much-depleted news service to pull in advertising revenue. Metro's deputy general manager, Mr Douglas Gautier, said yesterday that 83 per cent of the any given two-week audience total of 210,000 for the now defunct Metro News was concentrated at peak times. ''That is why we have retained the full format news service for those key periods,'' he said. ''Advertisers now know that if they buy into those times, they are getting peak time exposure,'' he added. Mr Gautier also defended the company's advertising record, despite industry claims that the company was offering huge discounts in rate card prices to lure advertisers. He said the two music stations, FM Select and Hit Radio, had hit advertising targets and Metro News had reached 65 per cent of its target in the first quarter of this year. ''For a new competitor that is okay and, in fact, I think we are doing remarkably well,'' he said. But despite Mr Gautier's confidence, Survey Research Group (SRG) figures compiled from ''transmission logs'' provided by the radio stations, show Metro Broadcast has been trailing far behind its competitor, Commercial Radio (CR). In 14 out of the 15 months since SRG began compiling statistics comparing the advertising revenues of CR and Metro, CR has claimed more than 70 per cent of radio's monthly advertising revenues. The only month in which Metro's share topped 30 per cent was in February this year, when it reached 32.9 per cent. Its lowest share came in the same month last year, when it claimed just 14.3 per cent. The total advertising revenue figures for last year and the first quarter of this year show CR with $538 million and Metro with $171 million. During the period, Metro's best monthly total in value terms was $17.3 million in December last year, while Commercial Radio's worst month was $27.1 million in February this year. Advertising sources said Metro's advertising revenues were not that bad considering the limited time the station had been on the air and, the fact that it had entered a monopoly market. But Mr Andrew Floyd, managing director of SRG subsidiary Research Services (Hongkong), said the figures cited in the research were calculated on the official advertising rate cards, not the actual rates that could have been charged to advertisers. ''Naturally, such details are confidential between client and the media company concerned,'' he said. ''But our rate card figures for the television companies show over-estimates of ad revenues by anything up to 35 per cent, even 40 per cent. ''With radio, right across the board, the over-estimate could be higher,'' added Mr Floyd. ''This is even more certain for a new station trying to break into a monopoly. They might be undercutting the rate card by as much as 75 per cent just to get a foot in the door,'' he said. Mr Gautier said: ''It is true, and only normal, that in the first six months or so it was essential for us to discount heavily against the card. ''But this is a highly competitive media environment, and don't imagine for a minute that CR does not discount heavily too. ''We are now selling much closer to the rate card, and have found no resistance from advertisers.'' or agencies,'' he added. ''I remain very bullish about the future of Metro Broadcast, in all its forms,'' said Mr Gautier. Ms Alice Lam, chairman of the 4As media sub-committee said: ''It is important for all of us in the advertising industry to know what actual rates are charged, not just what the rate card says. ''Metro's ad rates are lower than Commercial's, so even if they sell equal amounts of time, Commercial will collect more revenue.''