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Associated Press posts profit in 2013 despite 4 per cent decline in revenue

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Associated Press said Wednesday that it posted a net profit of $3.3 million in 2013, as it cut costs across the organization. The results compare with a loss of $25.5 million a year ago, according to the news co-operative's annual financial report, released Wednesday.

Revenue fell 4 per cent to $596 million as income from newspaper clients continued to fall and Google stopped licensing news content.

The revenue decline was offset by a sharper drop in operating expenses, which fell nearly 7 per cent, 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 decline in newspaper revenue was partially offset by gains in video and photo sales, as well as in the sale of infrastructure support to other news organizations. The support comes in the form of equipment and camera crews, which it supplies through its Global Media Services product.

The AP's forecast 2014 revenue gain is expected to come from increasing sales of video, photos and its video newsroom software, Essential News Production System, said chief financial officer Ken Dale.

In 2014, AP plans to bolster its coverage of the 50 states, focusing on state government. The organization plans to add 20 to 30 new reporters to help with the effort.

The AP also plans to improve its video capabilities and revamp its Arabic language news service.

The news organization announced at its annual meeting Wednesday that it has added three new members to its board of directors: Bill Hoffman, president of Cox Media Group; Isaac Lee, president of news for Univision Communications Inc., and CEO of Fusion; and Rob King, senior vice-president of SportsCenter and News for ESPN.

Jon Rust, publisher of the Southeast Missourian and co-president of Rust Communications, was re-elected to fill his final year on the board. The new AP board has 21 directors, each of whom is eligible to serve a total of nine years.

The Associated Press, founded in 1846, is owned by 1,400 U.S. newspapers and is largely a wholesaler of news. It sells the content that its journalists gather and produce to newspapers, commercial websites and radio and TV broadcasters.

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Online:

AP's annual report for 2013: http://bit.ly/1h84jPW

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