Annual Report

2013

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Annual Report 2013

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Annual Report 2013

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Last year was one of significant accomplishments for The Associated Press, from challenges to government overreach and a sweep of the world’s top photo prizes to enhanced financial stability and precedent-setting victories in protecting AP content. We introduced a streamlined new structure of AP’s business side, launched a plan to further build out our U.S. State News Reports, released a robust new platform for our photo business, and broke vitally important news about disarray in America’s nuclear missile forces, al-Qaida’s inner operations and continuing dysfunction in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. In all, 2013 reinforced AP’s reputation as the definitive source for news and for leadership in news values and freedom of the press.

In May, we learned that the U.S. Department of Justice had secretly seized a broad swath of AP phone records as part of a leaks investigation related to a story we had done. It was clearly unconstitutional, and we hit back hard. The DOJ responded almost immediately, and has now updated and strengthened the guidelines surrounding use of subpoenas on journalists — rules that we believe would have prevented the seizure if they had been in place at the time.

“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters.”

Gary Pruitt, AP president and CEO, in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder

We pursued other crucial First Amendment efforts last year, too. We pressured the White House to open photo access to presidential events and activities that they increasingly have been restricting. And we requested — and received, after a long legal fight — the 911 tapes following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. For any responsible newsgathering organization, this is a normal step. The checks on government cannot stop just because the subject matter is difficult.

As critical as fighting to protect the First Amendment is the fight to protect our original news content from misappropriation. In a clear and sweeping victory for AP, other media and for the public, a federal court ruled last year that the Internet clipping service Meltwater misappropriated AP content. AP won on nearly every argument made in the case — sending a strong message to those who take AP and other original content without paying for it, and establishing a clear legal precedent. Said the judge in the case: “Investigating and writing about newsworthy events occurring around the globe is an expensive undertaking and enforcement of the copyright laws permits AP to earn the revenue that underwrites that work. Permitting Meltwater to take the fruit of AP’s labor for its own profit, without compensating AP, injures AP’s ability to perform this essential function of democracy.” Meltwater now contracts with AP.

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We strengthened another area of great value to AP, its members and the public last year, too: our coverage of state and local news. AP is the only news organization with reporters in every statehouse, and last year we began to build on that unique offering. A key strategic initiative for 2014, we are increasing the number of journalists in our state bureaus and regional desks and putting greater emphasis on state government coverage. We believe these changes will further extend our competitive advantage in the United States.

Cynthia Wides, right, and Elizabeth Carey exchange wedding vows at City Hall in San Francisco, June 29, 2013. Dozens of gay couples lined up outside City Hall in San Francisco as clerks resumed issuing same-sex marriage licenses one day after a federal appeals court cleared the way for the state of California to immediately lift a four-year freeze.

AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez

View on apimages.com >

Associated Press photographers had an astounding year in 2013, winning virtually every notable prize, including a Pulitzer for breaking news photography.

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    LaTisha Garcia carries her 8-year-old daughter, Jazmin Rodriguez, near Plaza Towers Elementary School after a massive tornado carved its way through Moore, Okla., leaving little of the school and neighborhood standing, May 20, 2013. The tornado killed 25 people, including seven children at the school. AP Photo / Sue Ogrocki View on apimages.com >

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    A Bangladeshi survivor is lifted out of the rubble by rescuers at the site of an eight-story commercial building that collapsed in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 25, 2013. More than 1,000 people were killed in the collapse of Rana Plaza, which housed several garment factories. AP Photo / Kevin Frayer View on apimages.com >

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    A victim's body lies amid rubble at the site of the collapsed Rana Plaza in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 25, 2013. AP Photo / A.M. Ahad View on apimages.com >

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    People and rescuers gather after the eight-story Rana Plaza, housing several garment factories, collapsed in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 24, 2013, killing more than 1,000 people. AP Photo / A.M. Ahad View on apimages.com >

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    As hope faded of finding any more survivors five days after the collapse of Rana Plaza, a garment factory complex near Dhaka, Bangladesh, a rescue worker leaves the site, April 29, 2013. More than 1,000 people, many of them garment workers, died in the building. AP Photo / Ismail Ferdous View on apimages.com >

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    Egyptian protesters throw fire bombs and stones at the presidential palace during a demonstration in Cairo, Feb. 8, 2013. AP Photo / Khalil Hamra View on apimages.com >

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    A man raises a brick overhead as supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi beat an opposition protester in downtown Damietta, Egypt, July 3, 2013. AP Photo / Hamada Elrasam View on apimages.com >

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    An Egyptian protester evacuates an injured boy during clashes near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Jan. 25, 2013. AP Photo / Khalil Hamra View on apimages.com >

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    Egyptian protesters wave their hands and hold national flags during a demonstration against President Mohammed Morsi on Tahrir Square in Cairo, the focal point of the uprisings, June 28, 2013. AP Photo / Amr Nabil View on apimages.com >

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    Supporters and opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi clash in Cairo, July 5, 2013. AP Photo / Hassan Ammar View on apimages.com >

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    A supporter of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi reacts while praying during a protest against Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo, Aug. 2, 2013. AP Photo / Manu Brabo View on apimages.com >

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    (2014 World Press Photo contest - Observed Portraits – 1st prize) A woman reacts in disappointment after access to see former South Africa President Nelson Mandela was closed on the third and final day of his casket lying in state, outside Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. AP Photo / Markus Schreiber View on apimages.com >

Associated Press photographers had an astounding year in 2013, winning virtually every notable prize, including a Pulitzer for breaking news photography, for their heart-rending and graphic images of the Syrian war. AP photographers also won top prizes for a variety of images in Pictures of the Year International, World Press Photo, China International Press Photo Competition, The White House News Photographers Association and The National Press Photographers Association.

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From revelations of disturbing disarray in the forces that protect the U.S. nuclear arsenal to remarkable insights into the inner workings of al-Qaida, AP reporters broke important exclusive stories of vital relevance last year. Washington National Security Writer Robert Burns’ continual stream of frightening revelations about the highly secretive missile force prompted Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, citing AP, to demand a full-scale investigation.

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Rukmini Callimachi, AP’s West Africa bureau chief, dispelled the myth of al-Qaida as a disorganized terrorist operation when she discovered a tranche of documents that covered everything from strategy to housekeeping items such as chastising a terrorist for not filing his expenses.

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We extended our global reach in 2013, opening a multiformat bureau in Myanmar, the first Western news organization to do so. It follows on the launch in 2012 of our bureau in Pyongyang, North Korea — both of them opening up to the rest of the world countries long closed to public view and scrutiny. AP’s Pyongyang bureau supplied a continuing string of news breaks, including last year’s bizarre visits by former basketball great Dennis Rodman.

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PBS MediaShift named AP Mobile No. 1 in top news apps to watch in 2014, Business Insider named it the best app for keeping up with breaking news, and it won the EPPY award for best mobile app with more than 1 million monthly unique visitors.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed robust growth with our new platforms and offerings. AP Video Hub, the online platform that delivers newsroom-ready video to new markets and customers, expanded to digital market leaders in more than 40 countries, nearly doubling its revenue. AP Video-US continued to grow and now serves more than half of AP U.S. broadcast members. In May, we launched a new portal for AP Images, offering quick search and rapid downloads of AP photos and more than 200 editorial and creative stock photo partners. We’ve added 25,000 new users since its introduction. AP Archive, our repository of digitized video dating back nearly 100 years, grew revenue and market share, fueled by a new digital platform.

AP Mobile added new customers and multiple accolades in 2013. More than a million people downloaded it, bringing the number of downloads since it was introduced in 2008 to 13 million. PBS MediaShift named it No. 1 in the top news apps to watch in 2014, Business Insider named it the best app for keeping up with breaking news, and it won the EPPY award for best mobile app with more than 1 million monthly unique visitors.

Importantly, we strengthened our financial health last year, ending 2013 with EBITDA of $41.6 million — the highest since 2009. Revenue for the year was $596 million. We finished the year debt-free, having begun the year with $19 million in bank debt. You can find our full financials here.

See more in AP by the Numbers >

Revenue by business line
Revenue by customer segment
  • █   Content licensing 84%
  • █   GMS 7%
  • █   AP ENPS 6%
  • █   Advertising/other 3%
  • █   Television 45%
  • █   Newspaper 26%
  • █   Internet 10%
  • █   Agency 7%
  • █   Radio 5%
  • █   Other 7%
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In October, to mark the 50th anniversary of the escalation of the Vietnam War, we published an extraordinary photographic history of the conflict. AP has the most comprehensive collection of photos from the war — we won six Pulitzers, four of them for photography, for our coverage — but they had never been compiled in a single place before. The result, “Vietnam: The Real War: A Photographic History by The Associated Press,” was a compelling, heartbreaking account of a war that scarred America like no other.

The book reminds us all of the costs of covering conflict — a cost that AP encounters every day. Four of our journalists lost their lives in that war. Today, reporters face even greater dangers to cover war zones. In April of this year, veteran AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was targeted and killed in Afghanistan, where she was covering the run-up to the presidential election there.

Kathy Gannon, who has covered Afghanistan and Pakistan for three decades for AP, was seriously wounded in the attack. Dozens more AP correspondents were detained, jailed, harassed and injured in the process of reporting the news in 2014. As conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and elsewhere spread and become more complex, it is increasingly difficult to cover them firsthand without putting our photographers, videographers and reporters in danger. We weigh these risks daily, but they are stories that must be told — and so we tell them.

Mary Junck
Chairman
Gary Pruitt
President and CEO
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AP Board Chair Mary Junck with AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt AP Photo