9 May 2019 - The last financial year (2018) has been an successful one for ASDACS. Our income has improved substantially, there has been a start to the database upgrade, as well as solid negotiations with Screenrights and SPAA regarding director’s retransmission percentages.
There has been a 44% overall increase in ASDACS royalties which last year totalled $1.7MM (an increase of the previous year of +$537k).
In 2018 we had an 11% increase in membership, 117 new members, which brings our total membership to 1155. Of these ASDACS distributed royalties to 540 members.
We have signed six new international partnerships: COPYSWEDE (Sweden), DJC (Japan), ALBATOUR (Albania), RUR (Russia), ATN (Chile) and AuPO CINEMA (Ukraine). It brings the number of partnerships we have now to 35. This is due in no small measure to the diligent work of Deb Jackson, our Executive Officer, both here and overseas. I cannot praise her enough.
Deb represented ASDACS at the CISAC General Assembly in May 2018 (Warsaw, Poland) and CISAC CTDLV Committee meeting in October 2018 (Tbilisi, Georgia). Deb has maintained and expanded international collecting society partnerships, reported on the situation for directors in AUS/NZ, further discussed the creation of an APAC directors alliance, as well as gained updates on international governance, technical and legal requirements and developments.
There will be a reduction in the administration fees charged to members on royalties, this is down 5% down to 15%. It was 20% last year. This fee of course is PLUS the 4% Cultural and Charitable fund fee as well as the 10% membership fee (charged to non ADG/DENZ members).
The distribution of the 2017 income commenced in October 2018, three months earlier than prior years. The total income distributed to members in 2018 was $1.6MM.
Of the $50,500 Cultural and Charitable purposes funding last year, the board allocated $40,000 to the Australian Director’s Guild, $10,000 to the Motion Picture Industry Benevolent Society and $500 to Women in Film And TV.
$14k from the ASDACS Development Fund was used to finance the development of the first phase of our new database upgrade and to pay for legal advice for our copyright campaign. ASDACS commenced development on its database system in order to facilitate the transfer of all ASDACS members works into the international, IDA, database system (referenced by international collecting societies), as required by international collecting society governance body, CISAC. We expect that the automated transferal of works into the standardised IDA system will create greater internal efficiencies through reducing the workload associated with manually registering and claiming works. In addition, ASDACS is developing an online membership portal to allow members to login and update their personal details, self-register/update their credits, access past/current distribution royalty statements & complete distribution documentation. - Board members sat through a number of interviews this year with Deb Jackson and Kingston Anderson to decide on the best company to proceed with the upgrade.
ASDACS also continued discussions with Screenrights in regard to setting a standard retransmission percentage for directors. In particular, meetings were held in co-junction with the ADG in order to help set a retransmission royalty spilt for the standard SPA/ADG TV drama agreement. Kingston Anderson also took part in these negotiations. The negotiation will create an important precedent for directors across all genres and the outcome of the negotiations will be announced shortly.
In the meantime, ASDACS continues to claim, maintain and negotiate retransmission royalties on behalf of it members in order to maximise their domestic royalty revenue. In 2018, ASDACS collected a total of $21k of retransmission royalties through Screenrights. We hope this figure will substantially improve in the years ahead.
Last year we hired a new Administration and Research assistant, Brenton Amies, who has proved very reliable and recently we have hired another Research assistant, Melanie Nall, to assist Debra with her workload.
It is in no small measure that our success this year is due to Deb Jackson’s conscientiousness and painstaking persistence although I know that Kingston Anderson has also worked a lot for ASDACS, especially in relation to the Screenrights’ retransmission percentage campaign and was involved in the decision about what company we would hire to do the database work. So my thanks go to both of them. I also thank Kitty Chen from Generate for her meticulous work on our finances.
I thank the ASDACS board itself for their work last year. Donald Crombie, who has been an excellent treasurer, Kevin Lucas (especially for his knowledge of database building), Scott Hartford-Davis (for his astute judgements), Grant Campbell, from New Zealand, for his specialised knowledge of databases and general common sense, and new member Pat Fiske for her astute and steady opinions. This board does more than just attend quarterly board meetings as there are decisions to be made by email throughout the year, especially regarding legal costs, travel costs, salaries, the database and Screenrights’ decisions and sometimes they are asked to attend impromptu meetings so that financial decisions can be made. So a big thank you to the ASDACS board.
Stephen Wallace (Chair ASDACS)