French authors' and publishers' collecting society Sacem has revealed a 15.9% decline in income from CD and DVD mechanical rights to €100 million ($139.9 million).

While its headline results had already been unveiled in January, Sacem has now unveiled details of its collections and distributions, during its annual press conference in Paris.

The figures also show that digital revenue increased 41.1% to €8.6 million ($12 million).

"Digital represents only 1.1% of our overall income," said Bernard Miyet, Sacem chairman of the management board, who was recently confirmed in his position for the next three years. "But it costs us a lot of effort." Miyet said that digital services generate a lot of "nano transactions," which are costly for Sacem to collect and distribute.

Revenue from private copying decreased 4.2% to €49.3 million ($70 million), representing 6.5% of the overall revenue.

"People keep copying the same amount of music," said Miyet, "only they now do it with devices with a larger capacity." The private copying fee on such devices works out proportionately less, based on the number on tracks copied, than on a blank CD.

Private-copying levies are imposed on sales of a range of electronic hardware and blank media formats, the proceeds of which are distributed to producers, artists and authors and publishers through their respective collecting societies.

Income from live performances decreased 2.6% to €132.4 million ($185.2 million), which Sacem explains by the lack of major artists touring in France in 2008. The society foresees improved results in 2009 with tours from U2 and Coldplay and the farewell tour of French veteran Johnny Hallyday.

Revenues from audiovisual (broadcast TV and radio) are up 4% to €267.5 million ($374.2 million). In audiovisual income, revenue from television increased 7.1% to €216.4 million ($302.7 million) but the revenue from radio dropped 7.1% to €51.1 million ($71.5 million).

Given the current economic difficulties, Miyet expressed pessimism about income from audiovisual companies for 2009.

Overall, Miyet warned 2009 would be a "tough year", stressing that Sacem's collections had already dropped 3.45% in real terms since 2006.

In 2008, Sacem distributed €602.6 million ($843 million), down 2.8% from 2007, plus €14.6 million ($20.4 million) through its social and cultural funds. The average administrative cost rate reached 15.5%, compared with 15.2% in 2007 and 15.5% in 2006.

Sacem aims at stabilizing its administrative costs below 15% and has already engaged cost reductions through staff cuts and improved IT systems.

As previously reported, Sacem reported collections of €758.1 million ($1.06 billion) for the financial year ending Dec. 31, a decrease of 0.4% on 2007.

Sacem also appointed Claude Lemesle as president of its board of directors, a position he already held from 2005 to 2007. Born in 1945, Lemesle has written lyrics for such famous French singers as Michel Sardou, Johnny Hallyday and Gilbert Bécaud. He succeeds composer Laurent Petitgirard.

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