Advertising spending in Hong Kong accelerated in the first quarter, as the improving economy helped drive more campaigns into television, newspapers and online media. Led by robust investment from the banking and property sectors, total advertising spending in the January-March period rose 24 per cent to HK$6.74 billion from HK$5.45 billion a year ago, according to media-monitoring firm admanGo. It said all sectors, except for the entertainment industry, increased their media exposure last quarter. Last month, the Hong Kong Advertisers Association reported many companies were optimistic about the economy's health and aimed to raise their advertising budgets this year. It said the main focus of advertisers would shift from driving sales to building brands. Although television advertising generated the most revenue at HK$2.49 billion in the first quarter, spending on online media and newspapers recorded the highest growth rate year on year at 59 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively. 'Entertainment-related advertising, however, fell 11 per cent to HK$276.74 million from HK$312.67 million in the previous year due to a double-digit drop in spending each by music recording companies, retailers and karaoke establishments,' an admanGo spokeswoman said. The banking sector spent the most in advertising during the first three months of the year, with spending up 34 per cent year on year at HK$658.82 million. HSBC was the top banking advertiser, with an outlay of HK$56.15 million. Campaigns by the pharmaceutical and health-care sector reached HK$538.3 million, up 31 per cent year on year. The industry's top advertiser, GlaxoSmithKline, was also the city's largest spender, with a total investment of HK$88.95 million. Advertising by the property sector hit HK$314.21 million, a growth of 153 per cent, the highest among all industry categories. This was spearheaded by developer Sun Hung Kai Properties, which spent HK$30.63 million.