SUISA’s financial year 2018: an outlook

In the Committee and Board meetings towards the end of the year, framework conditions for the following financial year are set. As such, the meetings of the SUISA Board in December 2017 continued to be characterised by budgets, cost rates, staffing plans, roadmaps, politics and quite a bit more. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

SUISA’s financial year 2018: an outlook

During the meetings of the SUISA Board in December 2017, the focus was on the figures for the next financial year. (Photo: Kemal Taner / Shutterstock.com)

For the first time in the history of SUISA, the Board presented two budgets in the December meeting: that of the Cooperative Society SUISA and that of the group of companies. The group of companies includes – apart from the parent company – the subsidiary company SUISA Digital Licensing (headquartered in the Principality of Liechtenstein). Furthermore, the group of companies holds a 50% share in the Joint Venture Mint Digital Licensing AG (headquartered in Zurich).

The Board members were given access to the budgeted figures of the affiliated companies. The definitive decision on their business lies, however, with the committees in charge of each society. A new point is therefore added to SUISA’s competency rules in terms of rights and obligations of the Board.

SUISA budget 2018

Back to the numbers: A modest increase is expected for performing and broadcasting rights and a continuation of the downward trend among the reproduction rights. The compensation claims, however, might see a steep rise compared to the 2017 budget (thanks to higher collections from the blank media levy, internal networks in businesses and the rental of set top boxes). Part of the online collections will be allocated to the subsidiary company for accounting purposes. Collections from online use for music on Swiss websites, online advertising campaigns and video on demand services remain in the SUISA budget.

SUISA’s overall turnover budgeted for financial year 2018 amounts to CHF 151.9m. Collections from the use of copyright in Switzerland are budgeted to reach CHF 136.6m. On top of that, net revenues of CHF 11m are expected from abroad. Furthermore, secondary income of CHF 4.3m shall contribute to the overall results.

Expenditure is probably going to increase compared to the previous year, mainly because of the collections of CT 3a (background entertainment). From mid-July, additional staff positions are budgeted to take over this business. The Board has approved the budget for 2018 knowing that it is based on the rejection of the No-Billag-Initiative. Should the voting populace reject the fee for the reception of broadcasts, the changed situation would be met with adapted scenarios.

Regulations and statutory provisions

The auditors regularly supply the governing bodies of SUISA a questionnaire on potential unlawful actions. With this statutory provision, the level of awareness among governing bodies for unlawful acts shall be determined. By way of their answers, management and Board estimate the risk levels and comment on the control procedures. The results were approved and passed on to BDO.

Cost coverage deductions

The Board also decided that the deductions in the off-line sector correspond to those of the previous year. For the online sector it approved slightly changed rates for domestic and international application.

Changes at Board level

Due to the limitation of the period in office, two members of the Board will step down in June 2019. The knowledge acquired over many years in office by the Board members who are now stepping down needs to be replaced and SUISA needs to prepare for future challenges. As early as autumn 2017, a working group has begun with a situational analysis regarding the imminent Board retirements. The Board was informed about the results and the next steps of this analysis.

Copyright Act Review

In November, the Federal Council has passed the message regarding the Copyright Act review together with the legislative proposal on to Swiss parliament. The matter is initially going to be dealt with at National Council level by the Legal Affairs Committee (LAC), and subsequently in the States Council’s Science, Education and Culture Committee (SECC).

The Board was informed about the developments by G. Savary, member of the Board and the SECC. At the same time, he learned from the Executive Committee that the collective management organisations are satisfied with the draft by and large. It corresponds to the compromise developed by the AGUR12-II.

Need for action continues to exist in the sector concerning the online usage of music. In the EU there has been a discussion on the transfer of value on the internet for quite some time. It is high time that this discussion also takes place in Switzerland and that measures are implemented to stop the shift of the value creation away from authors towards internet technology companies.

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