Thursday, April 20, 2017

Newspaper Decline Continues To Weigh on AP Earnings

Earnings at The Associated Press shrank substantially last year compared with 2015, when the news organization enjoyed a large tax benefit that skewed its results. Revenue also edged downward, reflecting continued contraction in the newspaper industry and a stronger U.S. dollar that reduced the value of overseas sales.

The AP reports Net income last year shrank to $1.6 million from $183.6 million in 2015, a 99 percent decline. The 2015 profit figure was bolstered by a one-time, $165 million tax benefit. AP's 2014 net income of $140.9 million was also boosted by a large non-recurring gain from the sale of a stake in a sports data company. In 2013, net income at the AP — a nonprofit news cooperative — was $3.3 million.

Revenue at AP dropped 2 percent to $556.3 million in 2016. The news agency gave some papers lower rates in exchange for longer contracts, Dale said. The number of U.S. newspaper customers didn't change much.

AP's annual revenue peaked in 2008 at $748 million, and has mostly fallen since then, battered by the shift to online media and the decline of newspapers. The news agency, which sells other media organizations subscriptions to its print stories, videos and photos, has worked to make up the shortfall by investing more in video and focusing on new overseas customers.

Nearly half of AP's revenue comes from TV broadcasters. Newspapers account for 23 percent of revenue. U.S. papers make up the bulk of that, contributing 19 percent of total revenue. Internet companies like Yahoo and Microsoft contribute about another 10 percent. AP also gets money from other agencies and radio stations.

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