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ASCAP Adds OTT to Licensing Bonus Pool

ASCAP logo
(Image credit: ASCAP)

Music licensing group ASCAP is going platform-agnostic in recognition of the rise of streaming video services and to make sure its musical members are benefitting from the powerhouse over-the-top programming that appears to be supplanting traditional video options as the go-to entertainment medium.

With its board's unanimous approval in a Sept. 22 vote, ASCAP is renaming and expanding its TV Premium Plan to tap into the success of programming offered by Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, HBO Max and others.

The newly rechristened Audio-Visual Premium Plan, with expanded eligibility for premium payment, is meant to insure that the composers, songwriter and publishers it represents are eligible for bonus payments for the top streamed shows and movies on OTT services just as they already are for top cable and broadcast shows.

Citing the rise in cord-cutters and a growing cohort of cord-nevers who are migrating from traditional TV to streaming services for general entertainment content, ASCAP says it is well positioned to handle that evolution. That includes making sure its members can tap the growing revenue from OTT, which has seen compound annual growth of 30% over the past half-decade.

In a related announcement, ASCAP said it is adding top shows on Univision and UniMás to its premium payment program to reflect the rise in Spanish-language programming.

“As OTT services are rapidly scaling their businesses by providing subscribers with high-value offerings at price points that are disruptive to traditional TV economics," ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews said. “ASCAP is expanding its premium plan structure to ensure that our composers have the ability to earn a viable living from top-streamed shows. This protects the economic value of their music in AV OTT programming by creating incentives to retain their future backend public performance royalties in their own deal making with production companies and streaming services.”

ASCAP handles performance royalties for more than 825,000 members and licenses for more than 16 million copyrighted works.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.