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Distribution information guide: Pay TV

This information guide explains how the licence fees we collect from Pay TV providers are paid out as royalties.

Where does the money come from?

APRA AMCOS collects licence fees from all Australian and New Zealand Pay TV providers for music used in broadcast television shows and advertisements and on their digital radio channels. In Australia this includes Foxtel and Fetch. In New Zealand this includes Sky.

Licence fees from commercial Free-to-Air TV networks and National and other TV broadcasters are collected and distributed separately.

What information does APRA AMCOS use to determine who should be paid?

We are provided with broadcast logs from the channels on Foxtel and Sky which detail the film and television productions (including promos and station IDs) they broadcast. We receive these logs on a full census basis. In Australia, we use Foxtel broadcast logs to determine who should be paid and in New Zealand we use Sky broadcast logs.

In addition to broadcast logs, we receive detailed electronic reports of the songs used in film and television productions (cue sheets) and in promos/station IDs. These may be provided by production companies, other societies, our writer and publisher members, or the broadcaster.

For songs used in advertisements, we allocate a portion of the licence fees to the relevant Commercial Free-to-air TV royalty distribution pools.

How are songs matched to the data APRA AMCOS receives?

The broadcast logs we receive are used to match film and television productions with existing cue sheets in our database. The songs from the cue sheets are directly matched to the vast repertoire of songs in our database. We then distribute revenue to all cue sheets which are in our database at the time of processing the broadcast logs.

Where a direct distribution for a channel on a pay-TV platform cannot be made because of a lack of data or for reasons of efficiency, we may allocate the relevant portion of the licence fee to the overseas affiliate society of the territory where the television channel is produced.

Key terms used in our Distribution Rules and Practices document

The Copyright Act refers to compositions, musical scores in the form of sheet music, broadsheets or other notation as musical works. Lyrics or words to a song are considered literary works. When we refer to songs, we are referring to all the elements of a musical/literary work protected by copyright.

Full census:
the licensee provides complete reports detailing all songs played, broadcast or streamed.

Cue sheet:
A cue sheet is a record of all songs used in a film and/or television production. APRA AMCOS is provided with cue sheets for all locally produced programs broadcast in Australia and New Zealand and this information is used to distribute royalties for the public performance of the song.