Keen competition for advertising sales has led Oriental Press Group, which owns Hong Kong's No1 and No3 newspapers, to report a flat six-month profit. The company, which publishes the Oriental Daily News and the Sun, saw its interim profit rise a meagre 2.15 per cent to $210.01 million. Turnover reached $1.02 billion for the six months to September, up 2.66 per cent from a year earlier. '[The result] is solid but not exciting compared to its major competitor, Next Media, which reported a turnaround in the first half [to September],' Deutsche Bank wrote in a research note. Next Media, controlled by Jimmy Lai Chi-ying, on Monday reported net earnings of $91.03 million. Losses in Taiwan had narrowed to $115.86 million from $334.58 million. UOB Kay Hian analyst Tommy Ho said: 'Investors prefer Next Media because of its Taiwan concept. The company will have a fast-growing business as its Taiwan operation has the potential to return to black next financial year.' Next Media shares fell 5.3 per cent to $3.125 while Oriental Press dipped 7.43 per cent to $2.80 yesterday. Industry players said Next Media's Apple Daily and the Oriental Daily News had been in a price war since August. Apple had cut advertising rates and gained market share. However, newspapers in Hong Kong were expected to benefit from better advertising bookings after Television Broadcasts raised rates more than 10 per cent.