UPDATE: Further to the story below, MBW has been doing some more digging.
Whilst it’s true that Sony/ATV’s core UK company – Sony/ATV Music Publishing Ltd – saw revenues of £53m (+10.3%) in its last fiscal year, along with operating profits of £2.26m (-15.2%), further calculations give a fuller picture of the publisher’s commercial performance.
For one thing, companies under the charge of MD Guy Moot (pictured) also include SM Publishing (UK) Ltd – another core component of Sony/ATV’s British business.
As covered below, SM Publishing (UK) Ltd posted £4.55m in revenues in the 12 months to end of March 2016 – down 2.8% year-on-year. Meanwhile, its annual operating profits bounced 137.7% to £1.4m.
Combined, these two companies gave Sony/ATV’s UK operation a revenue figure of £57.7m – up just under £5m on the £52.86m combined figure from the year before.
Crucially, combined operating profit across the two companies hit £3.66m – up 12.6% on the £3.25m posted in the prior year.
Furthermore, as mentioned below, there are also the EMI Music Publishing figures to take into account – as well as those of Sony/ATV Music Publishing Europe Ltd.
MBW understands that Sony/ATV Music Publishing Europe Ltd’s revenues, which jumped 29.3% to £19.54m ($24.6m) in the 12 months ending March 2016, actually contain all digital revenues for Sony/ATV’s UK (and European) businesses – due to its signing of pan-EU deals with the likes of Spotify.
Below, you can see how the performance of each of these component companies breaks down individually.
Sony/ATV Music Publishing (UK) Ltd. posted revenues of £53.15m (£67m) in the 12 months to end of March 2016 – up 10.3% on the prior year.
However, operating profits at the company fell 15.2% to £2.26m ($2.9m), as annual administrative expenses crept up 6.9% to £13.46m ($17m).
Sony/ATV Music Publishing (UK) Ltd’s annual figures were slightly smaller than that of rival Universal Music Publishing (UK) Ltd for its last reported fiscal year.
In the 12 months to end of December 2015, Universal Music Publishing (UK) Ltd posted revenues of £54.46m ($68.6m), down slightly on the £55.01m ($69.3m) recorded in 2014.
That was despite two months of sales from star client Adele’s record-breaking 25, released in early November 2015.
Operating profit at UMPG’s UK Ltd company fell 12.4% year-on-year in 2015 to £2.89m ($3.6m).
Although Sony/ATV Music Publishing Ltd’s results give us a useful snapshot of Sony/ATV’s performance in the UK, we should be wary of drawing too many broad conclusions from its numbers.
Sony/ATV’s full spread of activities in the market also includes operations wrapped up in other businesses.
Sony Music (SM) Publishing Ltd, for example, turned over £4.55m in the 12 months to end of March 2015, down slightly on the £4.68m recorded the year before.
Its annual operating profit rose year-on-year to £1.4m from £589,000.
The above figures refer only to songwriters and catalogues signed to the UK Ltd. companies of UMPG and Sony/ATV.
The latter is led in the region by Guy Moot (pictured, main), while UK leadership at Universal Publishing switched from Paul Connolly (pictured, inset) to Mike McCormack last summer.
The Sony/ATV FY 2015/2016 report says: ‘[Sony/ATV’s] strategy is to provide a personalised service to its writers coupled with the financial backing of a multinational corporation.”
It warns: “The key business risks affecting the company are considered to relate to competition from other music publishers, piracy and illegal downloading of music and [the] retention of existing high-profile writers.
“To mitigate the risk of piracy and illegal downloading, the company is working closely with collection societies to help establish effective and efficient licenses with online service providers.”
The stats above were revealed in recently filed documents at Companies House in the UK.
To get the full power of Sony/ATV’s UK market share, you also have to consider EMI Music Publishing.
In 2012, Sony led a consortium to buy EMI’s publishing arm for $2.2bn. Sony took a 30% share as the rest was split between the likes of the Mubadala Development Company, Jynwel Capital and David Geffen.
According to documents, EMI Music Publishing Ltd posted revenues of £117.32m ($147.8m) in the 12 months to end of March 2016, up 16.7% on FY 2014/2015.
The operating profit at EMI hit £26.79m ($33.8m) in FY2016, up over 85% on the £14.45m ($18.2m) posted the year before.
However, due to a £22.98m profit being ingested from the sale of investments in FY 2014/2015, net profit at EMI actually fell 23.9% in its last fiscal year to £36.88m ($46.5m).
[EMI’s FY 2013 net profit figure above includes £99.39m income from ‘reversal of amounts written off in investments’.]
Sony ATV’s ex-UK European operation also files its financials in Britain.
Sony/ATV Music Publishing Europe posted turnover of £19.54m ($24.6m) in the 12 months ending March 2016, up 29.3% on the £15.11m ($19m) recorded the year before.
The company posted operating profits of £6.71m ($8.5m) in FY2015/2016, up 134.6% on the £2.86m ($3.6m) posted in 2015.
Its FY 2015/2016 net profit hit £5.38m ($6.8m), more than double the £2.26m ($2.9m) seen in the prior year.
The Sony/ATV 2016 Europe report noted: ‘Whilst we believe that streaming services will continue to grow overall industry growth, the cannibalization of download revenues continued [last year]. Download revenues now represent 32% of total digital revenues, down 8% on the previous year.
“We are dependent on successfully negotiating the licensing of our rights to new and existing services in the market, and the ultimate success of their service, which will hopefully drive overall industry growth.”