The picture service was also affected by the circulation decline, but was able to maintain the previous year's sales level due to the acquisition of several new customers.
The situation is different in the persistently difficult segment of secondary marketing of photos, where revenues were expected to stabilize, but actually declined by 3.8% despite the agency’s efforts.
A growing number of photo providers, the sometimes dramatic fall in prices and cost pressure from customers once again had a negative impact on earnings, in what can be described as an ongoing trend. However, the package of measures agreed together with the subsidiary dpa Picture-Alliance GmbH to sustainably strengthen this market segment is beginning to show an effect and has led to a significantly improved result.
Once again, sales in the new product areas developed positively with a further plus of 0.5 million euros. Custom content offerings, dpa's video service and technology services were all able to achieve in some cases significant growth.
The special service for advertising journals, dpa-Avis, and the European special service dpa-InsightEU proved stable. However, the foreign-language special services were unable to meet revenue expectations and on balance fell short of the previous year's figures.
Revenues for technology and transmission fell slightly, in line with expectations, to just over 1.2 million euros.
Other operating income increased from 1.0 million euros to 1.4 million euros, mainly due to higher reversals of provisions and value adjustments than in the previous year.
The total operating performance was 94.4 million euros (previous year: 94.6 million euros), a decline of 0.2 million euros.
The cost of materials rose by 1.0 % or 0.3 million euros to 31.4 million euros, mainly due to the special expenses for major sporting events in 2018. In addition, higher expenses in the area of purchased IT services were more than offset by lower fees for picture purchases.
Personnel costs fortunately remained at last year’s level of 52.8 million euros, despite a variety of influencing factors and a slight increase in jobs.
Slightly higher expenses for salary payments were offset by lower expenses for holiday and pension provisions, and the one-off expense for the restructuring of the Spanish service was largely offset by the cyclical and budgeted absence of special allocations to the dpa provident fund.