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The 2014 Budget - Sport and Video the priorities

Chairman Emmanuel Hoog presented the strategic orientations of the agency’s development plan for the years 2014-2018 at a meeting of the AFP board on December 10 2013.

This document outlines the directions of AFP’s dev elopment in the context of the economic and structural crisis in the written press and the inclusion of the agency’s general interest mission at the heart of its relations with the state.
Regarding the evolution of the market, AFP aims to increase its sales by 2 to 2.5 per cent per year. To achieve this, the agency will focus on six areas for development:

1.    Enrich our news content by developing our image production, in particular video which, thanks to enhanced production, should account for 10 per cent of the agency’s sales in 2018 compared to five per cent today;
2.     Become a leading provider of sports news;
3.     Increase international sales, notably through the revamp of the English and Spanish wires and the development of international coverage of culture and lifestyle;
4.     Propose innovative value-added products to clients by enriching the indexation of our production and conceiving new products based around social networks;
5.    Know our clients better to better serve them;
6.    Reform

Developing the first 5 areas, which will ensure future sales growth, supposes the reinforcement of the means of operation and investment in the activities and sectors to be developed.

The sixth area, which will provide the agency with a sufficient operating margin to enable us to invest, depends on controlling its operating costs. The negotiation of the financial plan of the COM, the discussion of the general company agreement and the projects concerning work organisation will be carried out to this end.

In addition, the AFP board approved the draft 2014 budget.

The 2014 budget is marked by the intensification of the economic and systemic crisis that is affecting the entire press sector.

The projected evolution of sales is nevertheless upwards compared to 2013 and takes into account the products linked to special sporting events such as the Winter Olympics in Sochi and the World Cup in Brazil. Outside of special events, commercial revenues are lower in France but globally progress by 2.3 per cent compared to 2013 thanks to international sales. We should note that for several years more than 50 per cent of the agency’s revenues, excluding those from the state, come from international sales where the agency expects to see the fruits of its voluntarist policies despite the economic context.

The revenues from the state are budgeted with an increase of 3.6 per cent compared with the amount received in 2013. They take into account on the one hand the fiscal impact of the resolution of the complaint over state assistance which is in its final legal phase in Brussels, and on the other hand the current discussions on the future commercial contract.

Concerning operating expenses, AFP is committing to a budget that will enable it to consolidate 2013’s activity. To achieve this, the increase is limited to 1.5 per cent excluding special sporting events. We shall continue our policy of savings in certain areas, particularly outside contractors, the reduction of telecommunications costs and the overall revision of overheads.

The increase in personnel costs is limited to the automatic rises included in AFP salary scales and for staff abroad takes into account the high inflation in some countries. The stringer budget will be higher than in 2013 because of the necessity to cover the continuing intense level of world news.

The mission budget is also higher to ensure the best editorial coverage, even as the agency continues its policy of controlling these costs.

In 2014 the agency will continue its exhaustive review of recurring contracts with suppliers in France and abroad in order to seize all opportunities to renegotiate.

Finally, the agency is continuing the necessary modernisation of its production and distribution tool with the development of its editorial system Iris and new delivery platforms. It is also completing the indispensable renovation of the building in Place de La Bourse, which will allow us to save one million euros in rents in 2014 and double that over a full year.

In total, the 2014 budget shows an operating margin of 15.8 million euros and a balanced net result.

The board approved the 2014 budget.

The board meanwhile examined the budget perspectives up to December 31 2013.
The estimate predicts sales of 282.5 million euros, 0.6 per cent less than budget, and a positive margin of 12.3 million euros.

About AFP
AFP is a global news agency delivering fast, accurate, in-depth coverage of the events shaping our world from wars and conflicts to politics, sports, entertainment and the latest breakthroughs in health, science and technology. With 2,260 journalists spread across almost every country, AFP covers the world 24 hours a day in six languages. AFP delivers the news in video, text, photos, multimedia and graphics to a wide range of customers including newspapers and magazines, radio and TV channels, web sites and portals, mobile operators, corporate clients as well as public institutions.