AP posts profit after cost-cutting, but revenue declines

Associated Press

AP reported its net income grew in 2013 to $3.3 million, an improvement over the previous year when the company ran $25.5 million in the red, according to its annual report distributed Wednesday.

But revenue dropped by 4 percent to $596 million as newspaper customers continued to decline. Google also stopped licensing AP’s content, the news agency reported.

The revenue decline was offset by a sharper drop in operating expenses, which fell nearly 7 percent, to $604 million.

The AP earned nearly $11 million from equity stakes in joint ventures such as its entertainment photo service, Invision.

The AP eliminated its long-term debt and said it expects a small amount of revenue growth this year, which would mark the first gain since 2008.

CEO Gary Pruitt said the news organization is in a “strong and improving” position, and he called 2013 “a good year of progress for the AP.”

The AP is a not-for-profit cooperative owned by the 1,400 U.S. daily newspapers that are members. Most of its revenue derives from subscription news services used by newspapers, radio and TV stations and Internet news sites. It operates in over 280 locations in the U.S. and internationally.

Three new directors were added to The Associated Press board, the wire service also announced Wednesday.

AP’s new directors, from left: Rob King, ESPN; Isaac Lee, Univision; and Bill Hoffman, Cox Media Group.

Joining the 21-member board are:

• Bill Hoffman, Cox Media Group president. Cox operates 14 TV stations, 57 radio stations, eight dailies, more than a dozen non-dailies and 100 digital services.

• Isaac Lee, Univision Communications Inc. president of news and CEO of Fusion. Univision provides content for and coverage of the Hispanic community. Fusion is the TV and digital network owned by Univision and Disney/ABC.

• Rob King, senior vice president for SportsCenter and ESPN news. He previously served as senior vice president for content for ESPN’s digital and print properties. King is also on the Poynter national advisory board.

Jon Rust, Southeast Missourian publisher and Rust Communications co-president, was re-elected to the board. Rust Communications is family-owned; it operates 19 dailies and 30 weeklies and has part-ownership interest in 17 radio stations.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the makeup of the AP membership. While only daily newspapers are members, they elect a board of directors who can then appoint additional directors to the board, an AP spokesperson said.

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  • Sandra Oshiro

    Appreciate the explanation, Curt. We’ve confirmed this with AP and corrected the story. — Sandee

  • curtwoodward

    Important correx, AP is owned *solely* by the 1,400 or so U.S. dailies. Other news outlets (broadcasters, online sources, etc) are “associate members” who can get on the board but don’t have ownership stakes.