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Distribution information guide: Video on Demand

This information guide explains how the licence fees we collect from Video on Demand service providers are paid out as royalties.

Where does the money come from?

APRA AMCOS collects licence fees from Video on Demand (VOD) service providers, covering subscription services such as Netflix, Disney+, Apple, Stan, Amazon Prime and Neon in New Zealand, and transactional (pay-per-view) services, such as iTunes, Telstra Media and pay-per-view content offered by Apple TV, Disney and Amazon.

These licences cover performing and mechanical rights, and royalties are paid to both APRA and AMCOS members using the methods described below.

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

Where possible, we perform distributions by direct allocation of the licence fees paid by Video on Demand services providers based on the data they can provide us with.

For smaller video on demand services with licence fees less than $10,000 per quarter, we distribute by analogy using information from other VOD services as it is not cost effective for us to make a direct allocation.

How are songs matched to the data APRA AMCOS receives?

Video on Demand services provide us with cue sheets for the productions they make themselves and sales/stream reports for all the productions available from their service. For other programs, where the associated cue sheet is not already in our system, we will look for the cue sheet from other sources (e.g. the producer/distributor of the production, or CIS-Net AVI -a centralised database for cue sheets). An electronic version of each cue sheet is created on our system and the track listing is directly matched to the vast repertoire of songs in our database.

The productions listed on the sales/stream reports are then directly matched to existing cue sheets in our database.

We research missing cue sheets, prioritising titles with the highest number of streams or sales value and add these to our database to enable us to make a royalty distribution on the works contained in those cue sheets. This research process is manual and time consuming, so for the remaining titles, only films and tv productions that auto-match with the records in our database are included in the distribution.

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.

Direct Allocation:
Royalties are distributed via comprehensive reporting to ensure that all reported works (subject to any thresholds that may apply) share in the distribution of the corresponding licence fees).

Royalties are distributed via distribution pools (or by copying datasets) that are most similar in terms of a licensee’s music content. This method is used when Direct Allocation or Sample reporting is impractical.

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.