Due to the pandemic, the last meetings of the Board of Directors and its commissions were once again held by video conference on 12 and 13 December. Shortly before that, the Board of Directors still had the opportunity to meet physically in the course of a conference.
Future of online licensing
In this information and retreat session on 24 November 2021, the Board of Directors discussed the current situation regarding the global management of our members’ rights for online uses with SUISA’s Executive Committee and the CEO of Mint Digital Services AG. SUISA is competing with other collective management organisations and licensing companies through its joint venture company established together with the American SESAC: ICE, founded by PRS (UK), Gema (DE) and Stim (SE), and Armonia, founded by Sacem (FR). The possible scenarios for the acquisition of further customers were therefore discussed with the Mint CEO. The Board was also able to take note of the benefits that direct licensing of SUISA repertoire brings to our members worldwide.
The main topic of the December Board meeting was the approval of the 2022 budget presented by management. As is well known, the situation regarding performing rights remains critical. Due to Covid-19, large events are only possible under restrictive conditions, if at all. These requirements entail that ticket sales are also more tentative and often worse than before the pandemic. As a result, performing rights revenue is expected to be lower in 2022 than it was prior to Covid-19 (–35% compared to 2019). Nevertheless, there should be an increase compared to 2020 (+12%).
Important pillars for achieving a better result in all areas compared to 2020 and probably also 2021 are the continuously improved market coverage, adjusted tariffs and new contracts. As a result of the new tariff relating to the blank media levy for external hard disks and laptops valid from 1 July 2022, revenue from compensation claims is expected to increase by around 20% compared to 2020.
On the expenditure side, we continue our cautious course. Expenditures are expected to be lower in 2022 than in 2020. Nevertheless, investments must be made in the further development of IT. The aim is to carry out as many communication processes as possible between members and SUISA and between clients and SUISA online: Our contact persons should be able to get in touch with us at any time via the web portal.
Within the framework of the budget, the Board also decided on the cost deductions for settlements to rightsholders in 2022. These cost deductions remain unchanged, i.e.: a maximum of 15% for performing and broadcasting rights and for online uses (video, websites). For online distribution of audio recordings, the cost deduction is 10%.
Code of conduct and conflicts of interest
The 2014 EU Directive on collecting societies also applies in the Principality of Liechtenstein. SUISA has therefore amended its Articles of Association accordingly in 2018. As a further consequence of the provisions of the Directive, the rules on conflicts of interest need to be defined more precisely. The board approved these rules at the December meeting. To this end, the Board of Directors and the Executive Board will disclose to the General Meeting corresponding declarations on vested interests and the remuneration from their SUISA mandates.
The Board of Directors also decided to continue its work on and planning of two projects: on the one hand, the celebrations for SUISA’s 100th anniversary in 2023 and, on the other hand, a joint project with Gema to automate and thus improve market registration for performing rights. Details of this will be able to be elaborated in the reports following the upcoming board meetings.