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VIVENDI LIKES WHAT IT SEES IN UMG

Supporting Universal Music Group’s streaming efforts—already the industry leader with a 30+% market share—is one of three key priorities in 2017 for parent company Vivendi as the French conglomerate looks to increase revenue by more than 5% and see EBITA spike by about 25%.

Vivendi spelled out last year’s highlights and this year’s plans at a shareholders gathering in Paris where they discussed turning around its French TV operation Canal+ and growing recently acquired mobile gaming unit Gameloft. Throughout the report, Vivendi brass speaks highly of UMG, calling it the foundation of the group.  

The company’s annual report had a few interesting tidbits relating to music:

Digital sales of catalog—music released at least 2 years ago—represents 57% of digital sales while physical catalog is 36% of CDs, LPs and cassettes.

The company’s headcount rose by two to 7,328 while welcoming 1,540 new employees, 996 of them full-timers. The company’s work force is definitely on the young side: Only 8% of its employees are 55 or older.

Local artists generate 59% of sales in their countries. (Coincidentally, UMG sells music in 59 countries).

While Universal Music Publishing’s signing of Prince was the big news in 2016, they also signed Selena Gomez, R.E.M., Don Henley, Romeo Santos and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Working to accelerate the monetization of video assets, Universal Music Group & Brands plans to increase the production of long-form content—music docs, films, live event musicals, music-themed television series and reality shows—and short-form content such live event streaming, viral content and official music videos.

UMG is leveraging new opportunities in China, Russia, Brazil and Africa. In some of these countries, changes in copyright protection legislation are enabling the group to improve the monetization of its music library.

Vivendi will help UMG expand in the live performance segment through its entertainment venues and partnerships with festivals.  

In 2016, UMG found four aspiring French artists—Lorenzo, Columbine, Clara Luciani and Eddy de Pretto—through Initial, the company’s artist services organization dedicated to discovering independent young artists, and supporting them through distribution, show production, merchandising, promotional recordings and marketing.

WatchMusic, a subscription-based music video streaming service for mobile devices that was launched Brazil in October, will be rolled out in other Latin American countries and other regions of the world this year.

 

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