Australian Associated Press posted a profit in 2019 after a major restructure that chief executive Bruce Davidson says will be the last of the major editorial redundancy rounds for the news wire service.
AAP achieved a $929,000 profit for the year after income tax, compared to a $10.45 million loss in 2018, documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission on Monday evening show. It booked a before-tax profit of $940,000 in 2019 following a loss of $5.59 million the prior year.
Mr Davidson said this was a “solid result” for the year ending June 30 after a tumultuous period for media companies.
AAP cut 25 staff members in mid-2018, representing about 10 per cent of its editorial team, blaming a “disrupted” environment. The news wire subscription service previously lamented hundreds of thousands of dollars had drained from the business due to clients using search giant Google.
You never know what’s around the corner but we’re heading into the new year with a fairly stable outlook.AAP chief executive Bruce Davidson
“We took quite a bit of cost out 18 months to two years ago,” Mr Davidson said.
“Now we are at a stage where [the news service] … is at base level to be able to provide breaking news services,” he said.
In 2018 the news agency posted $2.72 million in restructuring expenses, which dropped to $211,000 in 2019. Revenue from contracts with customers improved from $64.54 million in 2018 to $65.67 million in 2019, while employee benefits expenses declined by about $2 million.
“There are no plans on the horizon for any major cost out program,” he said, adding he would continue to look at new technology options.
“Revenue is always going to be challenging in the media. You never know what’s around the corner but we’re heading into the new year with a fairly stable outlook.”
Nine Entertainment Co, Seven West Media and News Corp Australia are AAP’s shareholders. Major news publishers have increasingly moved towards paywalled content, with a focus on distinctive journalism to encourage readers to subscribe, as more advertising dollars are spent with social media services.
Nine, the owner of this masthead, has been winding back its reliance on the news agency’s services, including subsidiary Pagemasters, sources with knowledge of the business said, however, regional daily newspapers have become a major source of revenue for AAP.
AAP took on the role of Facebook’s fact-checker in mid-2019, including during the federal election in May, bringing in three new staff members to disprove misinformation shared on the social media behemoth’s platform. Mr Davidson said in November that he hoped to expand this service in the future, with international regulators likely to formalise the effort to get fake news down-ranked on popular digital platforms.
Source: Thanks smh.com