French publishers' trade bodies CSDEM and CEMF have unveiled the results of a first-of-its-kind study on the publishing market in France.

Conducted last fall by Ernst and Young, the accountancy group, the survey questioned 29 publishing companies, which represent "between 50% and 70%" of the French market. The study covered the three years from 2003 to 2005.

Bruno Lion, managing director of Peer Music France and VP of CSDEM, tells Billboard.biz, said the survey was a response to the industry's need for hard facts to help raise its profile among public authorities and regulators.

"We wanted to give a better visibility to our sector," Lion tells Billboard.biz. The study is likely to be carried out annually, he says.

According to the survey, the number of employees of the 29 companies remained relatively stable between 2003 (220 employees) and 2005 (218 employees). Over the same period, the majors reduced their staff from 158 employees to 146 employees, while the independents' staff grew from 62 to 72 people.

The 25 companies which answered all the survey's questions saw combined revenues fall €167.8 million ($230 million) in 2003 to €161.6 million ($221.6 million) in 2005, according to the survey.

The majors accounted for 88% of the revenues, with Lion estimating that their market share in France is "a bit less than 50%."

Sheet music sales by 20 companies questioned rose from €6.7 million ($9.2 million) in 2003 to €6.9 million ($9.5 million) in 2005.

The revenues generated from Sacem, the French collection society, covered only 2004 and 2005. Sacem revenues for 24 of the companies shrank 9%, from €123 million ($167 million) in 2004 to €111.5 million ($153 million) in 2005.

Synchronization rights, aggregated from 18 companies, generated €20.7 million ($28.4 million) in 2005 alone.

Lion acknowledges synchronization rights might grow in the future thanks to new revenues from digital media. But, he adds: "The synchronization sector depends mainly on three to four major deals signed (by a company) in the year. In terms of revenues to be generated, a set of small authorizations will never be the equivalent of a big ad."