More money is being spent by advertisers online as the sluggish economy leads them to cut spending on traditional media and turn to cheaper and easy to monitor websites. Online display advertising spending on the mainland surged 22 per cent year on year in the first quarter to 2.7 billion yuan (HK$3.07 billion), with a rising number of advertisers and promotional campaigns, Nielsen Media said. The number of marketing campaigns grew 21.9 per cent over the same period last year to 10,627. The number of advertisers reached 2,663, up from 1,673. Online media is a much more measurable platform than television and print media, where advertising rates are much higher. A media agent told Media Eye advertisers had increased their budgets for online media by 7 to 20 per cent this year, up from 5 per cent a year earlier. Online advertising rebounded strongly in March, with revenue rising 61.6 per cent from February to 1.14 billion yuan. That returned it to levels last seen in October, before the financial crisis. The vehicle industry was the most enthusiastic advertiser on the internet, spending 410 million yuan in the first quarter or 15.5 per cent of the total. Fashion emerged as the second-biggest sector, with spending of 385 million yuan or 14.3 per cent of the total. The entertainment industry spent 251 million yuan online and accounted for 9.3 per cent of the total. However, the poor economic environment affected the information technology sector, which spent 233 million yuan or 8.6 per cent of the total, down from 18.7 per cent a year earlier. Service aggregates ad space Online advertising agent Pixel Media is launching a new service called Adsfactor Ad Network. The service aggregates advertising space from more than 180 Asian and global websites, with an average of 450 million total advertising impressions per month and reaching more than 57 million internet users in Asia. 'Adsfactor has already become one of the largest online advertising platforms to reach internet users in Asia, with more than 53 per cent users reached in Hong Kong, 60 per cent in Singapore and more than 20 per cent in China,' chief executive Kevin Huang told Media Eye. Billing for electronic content Newspaper content is again becoming less of a commodity. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch will start charging readers for accessing news content from News Corp's publications later this year. Hong Kong Economic Journal, one of the city's major financial newspapers, recently increased its electronic product offerings. The newspaper recently launched a mobile version of its website and archives of its columnists' articles. 'We need to have new products to retain subscribers, whose subscriptions will start to expire in July,' a source at the Journal told Media Eye, adding that it is studying the possibility of an electronic edition allowing users to read full pages of the paper online. The Journal's website, launched in July last year, has more than 12,000 paid subscribers at HK$598 a year. The rival Hong Kong Economic Times launched a website, mobile site and electronic newspaper edition last year.