In 2009, The Associated Press earned $8.8 million, a profit that was 65% lower than in 2008, the news cooperative has announced.
Revenue fell 10% to $676.1 million. The AP also forecast falling revenue for 2010. If that prediction holds, the AP will have posted its first back-to-back revenue declines since the Great Depression. The company also reduced payroll expenses by 10% through “attrition, buyouts and layoffs.”
The news organization said that it would have lost money in 2009 if it weren’t for a one-time, $13.2 million benefit relating to its sale of a German-language news service.
Historically, the AP has gotten much of its revenue from the contributions of member newspapers. These days, though, the co-op is diversifying revenue streams and even cutting back on the dues it charges newspapers and broadcasters, “to help them deal with their own financial woes.”
The Internet was at least partly to blame for the difficulty, said the AP:
The financial pressures facing the AP and other long-established media have been mounting in recent years as more people get their news for free on the Internet and advertisers shift more of their spending to less expensive online outlets. The Internet’s emergence as a marketing medium has hurt newspapers in particular because they make most of their money from print ads.