Next Media suffered a 70 per cent increase in losses for the first half of this year, its figures hurt by the performance of its Taiwanese publication. However, the company said its performance had yet to reflect the profits from four titles recently injected into the publisher from the private company of chairman Jimmy Lai Chee-ying. During the six months until the end of September, the company's losses widened to HK$74.07 million from HK$48.68 million in the same period a year earlier. Turnover increased 14.1 per cent to HK$218.2 million from HK$191.22 million last year. The loss was largely due to the newly established Taiwan operation, which incurred an operating loss of HK$67.98 million. The operation publishes the Taiwan edition of Next Magazine - the island's top selling weekly, which specialises in sensationalist items on crime and sex and scandal. In spite of a circulation of 200,000, the magazine's advertising performed worse than expected. The weekly title, which was expected to replicate the success of the Hong Kong edition of Next Magazine, has 60 to 70 pages of advertising, only half of the 120 to 150 pages originally expected, analysts said. Deputy chairman Andrew Chow On-kiu said he expected an upturn in the advertising revenue in the new year. Mr Chow said the magazine had already appointed ACNielsen to accredit its circulation, and would soon compile a detailed demographic readership breakdown to help potential advertisers prepare their new year advertising planning. In a news report last week, Mr Lai - who owns more than 70 per cent of Next Media - said he expected Taiwan Next Magazine's advertising revenue to increase fourfold in the second half, while the circulation would reach 300,000 in the next 12 to 18 months. Apart from the Taiwan title, the economic downturn in Hong Kong led to its youth magazine, Easy Finder, seeing a 4 per cent decline in turnover. Meanwhile, after a substantial downsizing in its online operation, the company saw the loss from Internet businesses curtailed to HK$22.58 million, down from HK$70.27 million a year ago. However, Mr Chow said the poor results had yet to reflect the company's newly acquired four profitable titles - Apple Daily, Hong Kong's Next Magazine, Sudden Weekly and Eat & Travel Weekly. 'The successful integration of the acquired publications with our existing operations strengthens Next Media's overall position,' Mr Chow said. 'Moreover, it gives us synergy to achieve our objectives in the coming months,' he said. The four titles, which the company purchased from Mr Lai and his connected parties through an issue of 429 million new shares in mid-September, made a combined profit of HK$286.19 million for the year to March 31. However, given the current market conditions, Jack Tsui, an analyst at South China Securities, said the titles' profits might come down to about HK$200 million this financial year. Meanwhile, another SAR-listed publisher, Ming Pao Enterprise, reported lower interim figures yesterday. The company, which publishes Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao, made a loss of HK$13.99 million in the six months to September 30, reversing a profit of HK$49.1 million in the same period last year. Turnover dropped nearly 14 per cent to HK$573.32 million from HK$665.92 million in the previous year.