Three papers' share of ad revenue increased to 8.4 per cent last month Newspaper advertising revenue recorded nearly 10 per cent growth last year, worth $1.6 billion on a pre-discount basis, while the three free dailies managed to claim 8 per cent of the pie by the end of the year, according to data from media agent Mindshare Hong Kong. Estimates for this year put overall growth at between 5 per cent and 8 per cent. The free newspapers - Metro produced by Metro Publishing, Sing Tao News Corp's Headline Daily and property agent boss Shih Wing-ching's am730 - generated a combined $928 million in advertising dollars last year, accounting for 5.6 per cent of the market on a full-year basis. Headline Daily and am730 joined the market only in July. However, by last month, the free dailies' share of newspaper advertising had climbed to 8.4 per cent, worth a total of $132 million. Metro remained the market leader of the three, increasing its advertising revenue 13 per cent on the previous year to $672 million. am730 recorded strong growth with advertising revenue last month reaching $36 million, up 17 per cent on a monthly basis. Headline Daily saw its advertising revenue for last month rise 12.8 per cent on the previous month to $33 million, while Metro only grew 1.9 per cent to $63 million. 'am730 achieved a better share of the advertising market having done more preparation than Headline Daily,' said a media analyst, adding that am730 spent three months securing clients before its launch. The mainstream mass circulation newspapers did not report any significant negative impact from the free dailies. Next Media's Apple Daily saw 9.8 per cent growth in advertising revenue last year over the previous year to $2.8 billion. Oriental Press Group's Oriental Daily News and The Sun combined earned $5.8 billion last year, up 3.1 per cent on 2004. However, after The Sun slashed its cover price, the Oriental Daily News and Apple Daily suffered a drop in advertising revenue of 10 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively last month compared with the same month in 2004, while The Sun's rose 21 per cent.