The advertising market slump has hurt MTR Corp (MTRC), which saw advertising revenue decline last year, according to a company official. Marketing manager Jeny Yeung Mei-chun said the size of the fall matched the overall decline in advertising expenditure across all industries, but she declined to reveal exact numbers. Advertising revenue was down on all four urban lines operated by the MTRC, although the company reported double-digit growth in advertising expenditure on the Airport Express route. 'If you look around, other forms of media such as newspapers and magazines were not doing well last year. Our performance is in line with the market. 2002 will be a tough year,' Ms Yeung said. Despite the fall in advertising revenue, the MTRC, which operates commuter railway services in Kowloon, Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island, still attracted a large portion of the SAR's outdoor advertisement expenditure. Consulting firm ACNielsen said the corporation attracted 62 per cent of outdoor advertising market expenditure, or HK$294 million, in the first six months of last year. The MTRC was followed by Kowloon Motor Bus, New World First Bus, the Chek Lap Kok airport and Kowloon-Canton Railway Corp. 'We maintained our market share last year even though the advertising income declined,' Ms Yeung said. Advertising income is the MTRC's key earnings stream after train-fare revenue and contributions from the company's property division. In 2000, the corporation's advertising income soared 38 per cent to HK$504 million thanks to the technology boom and the launch of the Mandatory Provident Fund. To open up new advertising revenue streams, MTRC has recently started publishing magazines for commuters. It will soon launch a newspaper. Bernard Wong Wai-lun, an MTRC corporate development manager, said: 'We aim to bring in more income by maximising advertising spaces with the launch of lifestyle magazine Hui Kai-Guide and Metro newspaper as well as turning more spaces in MTR stations into shops.' Ms Yeung said the 60-page magazine had attracted a reasonable amount of advertising since its launch in late November last year. MTRC yesterday appointed Media Partners International Holdings, a listing candidate, as an exclusive agency to manage the advertising business of the Airport Express and 24 Airport Express shuttle buses. The contract will last two years. Ms Yeung remained confident over Airport Express advertising, despite the fall in passenger numbers. For the first 11 months last year, Airport Express patronage was down 12.29 per cent to 8.32 million passengers.