Total revenue increased by around 5%, with Viscopy's core business in commercial licensing sales increasing by 11 per cent from the previous year. The increase in revenue was matched by a growth in payments to artists, with nearly $1.8m distributed to our members, a 12 per cent increase on the previous year.*
This is the strongest example of how the ongoing partnership agreement with the Copyright Agency is helping us deliver on what matters most: making it easy for licensing customers to access copyright materials they value and working eﬃciently to distribute member payments frequently and fairly.
Viscopy also continued to work closely with the Copyright Agency to better understand – and respond to – the challenges of supporting creators’ income in today’s digital environment. In 2014-15, we planned for how we improve service delivery across every point in our value chain and better position ourselves to be at the nexus where business meets creativity in future.
The most recent example of this is our important research initiative, Voice of the Artist. This research will be the ﬁrst of its kind to more deeply assess the impact of the online environment on the rights of visual artists in Australia and New Zealand. The results will inform our work with visual artists in the future.
Throughout the year, we also built on a number of community initiatives that have proven to achieve results and enhance the ways we connect with our stakeholders. We launched a new website, revamped our e-newsletter Canvas and developed materials speciﬁcally to art centres.
As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artist members represent 50 per cent of our total membership, we continued our education programs across remote regions in Australia to empower Indigenous artists with information about their rights.
Central to this has been information about the resale royalty scheme which, in June, marked its ﬁve-year anniversary.
The John Fries Award also experienced its strongest year yet with the highest number of entries received in its six-year history. More than 730 emerging and early career artists entered from all around Australia and New Zealand for the chance to closely collaborate with our new curator and develop works speciﬁcally for the exhibition. On behalf of the Board, I would like to congratulate Ben Ward, who was our ﬁrst West Australian, and ﬁrst Aboriginal artist chosen by the judges to receive the $10,000 prize for his work, Our Country.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge the support and vision of Murray St Leger who led the Copyright Agency | Viscopy through 2014-15. Under Murray’s direction, management and staﬀ worked diligently to put ideas into practice and improve our performance where it counts. I’d like to thank Murray for his astute management of the organisation and for championing the rights of visual artists. I look forward to working closely with the Copyright Agency’s new Chief Executive Adam Suckling to achieve another successful year where we continue to contribute real value to visual arts in Australia and New Zealand.
*Excluding a one-oﬀ payment to an international partner in 2013-14.