U.K.'s MCPS, PRS Report Growth In 2003

The United Kingdom's Performing Right Society (PRS) and sister collecting body Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) increased distributions to their members last year.

The United Kingdom's Performing Right Society (PRS) and sister collecting body Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) increased distributions to their members last year.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2003, PRS registered year-on-year revenue growth of 6% to £283.2 million ($519.9 million), an all-time high. Distributable income to its 40,000 songwriter and publisher members rose 5% during the year to a record amount of £242.5 million ($445.2 million).

The society reports 4% growth in U.K. public performance fees, to £101.4 million ($186 million). Income from U.K. broadcasting was up 6% to £89.6 million ($164 million) and international licensing revenues rose 7% to £92.2 million ($169 million).

"This was another good year for PRS and its members," says London-based PRS executive director John Axon.

PRS reports its cost-to-revenues ratio in 2003 rose slightly to 14.9% from 14.4% the year before. The increase was due in large part to what its report describes as continued "heavy investment" in IT systems. Axon says that strategy is beginning to yield rewards. "We're...improving the speed of our distributions to members, with more than £22 million ($40 million) of royalties being paid six months earlier than in previous years," he claims.

PRS will hold its 90th annual general meeting June 17 in London.

MCPS recorded a 2% increase in distributions to £227 million ($416 million). Distributable income to the society's 16,000 members is back to the level recorded in 2001; 2002 distributions slipped as a result of declining record sales.

"These are good results for MCPS given the climate for audio products in 2003," says MCPS executive director Sandra Cox. "Continental European market conditions remained difficult but the long-awaited downturn in audio product sales in the U.K. again failed to materialize and it was the U.K. performance that helped lift our distributions to members," she adds.

MCPS points out that its commission was stable at £16.8 million ($30 million).
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