Sacem Collections Dip

French authors' rights society Sacem has reported collections of €756 million ($978.5 million) for the financial year ending Dec. 31 2008, a decrease of 0.4% on 2007.

Sacem has yet to reveal detailed figures but noted the continuing decrease in CD sales had already generated a 34% drop in mechanical rights since 2003. In a statement, the trade body also outlined that revenue derived from digital services remained at "abnormally low levels," representing approximately 1% of Sacem's global income.

While his organization recently signed deals with ad-supported services such as audio streaming site Deezer and video streaming site Dailymotion, Sacem management board CEO and chairman, Bernard Miyet, said that online advertising fees were weak.

Sacem chairman of the board Laurent Petitgirard explained that one song streamed 240,000 times on Deezer had generated an income for Sacem of only €147 ($190).

The society forecasts a 2.8% decrease in global income for 2009.

Similar to concerns raised by French collecting societies SPPF and SCPP (, Jan. 15), Sacem warned of a likely strong decline in revenues brought in by the local levy on recordable devices, blank CDs and DVDs. This was pinned on a fall in blank CD and DVD sales, replaced by large memory devices on which the private copying levy is comparatively much smaller. Sacem is joining SCPP and SPPF in asking for an increase in those rates, set by a dedicated commission headed by a French government representative.

Miyet also expressed the organization's worries that the end of advertising on French state-owned TV channels, announced by President Sarkozy in 2008 and partly effective since Jan. 5 of this year, could impact Sacem's income. Miyet claimed any compensatory revenue decided by the government for the TV channels should include a share for Sacem.

The society also called for an urgent adoption of the proposed "Creation and Internet" law, designed to reduce online piracy. Miyet urged ISPs to contribute to author's remuneration, "just as cable operators or satellite platforms do."

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