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AP Revenue Declines Slow In 2011; Seen Up In 2012

CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The Associated Press said Tuesday that its revenue declined in 2011 for the third straight year, but the drop was significantly smaller than the previous two years.

Revenue dropped to $627.6 million last year from $630.5 million in 2010, the not-for-profit news cooperative said at its annual meeting on Tuesday. Before taxes, AP lost $23 million, compared with $22.5 million in 2010. After taxes, the AP said it lost $193.3 million, mostly because of a non-cash charge of $168 million that was taken as a reserve against future tax benefits.

AP Chief Financial Officer Ken Dale said he was encouraged that the revenue declines had slowed. Revenue dropped 10 percent in 2009 and 7 percent in 2010. The decline in 2011 amounted to 0.5 percent.

"We feel good about the year in 2011," Dale said.

The AP said revenue is likely to increase by as much as 2 percent in 2012, thanks partly to U.S. elections and the London Olympics. The AP sells separate, premium content related to both events. Broadcast revenue is also expected to increase because of the elections and Olympics. Separately, executives expect the AP's mobile news application for tablet computers and smartphones to generate new advertising revenue.

The AP's financial results come amid a change in leadership. CEO Tom Curley, chief executive for nine years, will be replaced by Gary Pruitt, CEO of The McClatchy Co., in July. Pruitt has been a member of the AP board for nine years.

"In selecting Gary, the AP board has sent a message of continuity as AP continues its digital transition," Curley said in prepared remarks.

William Dean Singleton, CEO of MediaNews Group Inc., also is stepping down after five years as the AP board's chairman. He is being replaced by Mary Junck, CEO of Lee Enterprises Inc.

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