This information guide explains how the licence fees we collect from Pay-TV operators are paid out as retransmission royalties.

Where does the money come from?

In Australia, cable and satellite providers can simultaneously retransmit the free-to-air channels over their networks as part of their overall service offering, provided they have a Screenrights licence.

The licence fees paid by the cable and satellite providers become retransmission royalties.

When a TV or radio channel is retransmitted, so too are all the films, TV shows, documentaries and other projects on the channel. Screenrights collects information about the programs that are retransmitted and allocates the retransmission royalties to those programs.

Retransmission royalties

Retransmission royalties are triggered when a program being broadcast on a free-to-air channel is simultaneously retransmitted over another network.


A re-broadcast (i.e. a second or third broadcast of a program) is not a retransmission. There are no secondary royalties for re-broadcasts.

Video-on-demand services

There are no secondary royalties for streaming or video-on-demand services. Any royalties payable for S-VOD, T-VOD and A-VOD are typically dealt with in terms of the licensing agreement.

Collections to Expenses Ratio

All the money we collect is distributed to members after the deduction of administrative overheads only. The administration fee is referred to in percentage terms and is called the collections to expenses ratio. The collections to expenses ratio is detailed in our Annual Reports and is set out below:

Year Ratio
2018 16.40%
2017 15.40%
2016 14.1%
2015 13.1%
2014 14.0%

Rightsholders should note that if they appoint an agent to collect Screenrights royalties on their behalf, the agent may also charge an administrative or agent’s fee on top of Screenrights’ costs.

Distribution Period

Screenrights’ Constitution has always allowed for a 4-year distribution period, with an additional two years where the Board determines it necessary. In practical terms Screenrights has taken six years to distribute royalties. In 2020 Screenrights will be moving back to having four years to distribute royalties. For members this will mean that royalties from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 distribution years will expire in June 2020.

Data for Royalty Distribution

Screenrights uses data from broadcaster program guides for the main free-to-air channels and their multi channels. The free-to-air channels are:


ABC One (ABC1)

ABC Two (ABC2)




SBS Viceland


SBS Food (formerly SBS Food Network)


7 Food Network (launched December 2018)









10 Bold (formerly One) 

10 Peach (formerly Eleven)


ABC Classic

ABC Goldfields WA

ABC Jazz

ABC Local Stations

ABC News Radio

ABC Regional Stations

Double J

Radio National

Triple J




Royalty Valuation

The money collected from the retransmitters is divided into two pools, one for TV royalties and one for radio royalties. These pools are further divided into individual TV network and radio channel pools. 

The amount paid to each program is therefore influenced by the money available in the pool for that TV network.

There are three factors that influence the value of a program retransmitted on TV. These are:

  • The ratings of the channel being retransmitted – his is based on the channel’s overall viewership and is different from the individual program rating.

  • The time of the program broadcast – programs that are broadcast in primetime earn around three times as much as programs that play during the day or late in the evening, which in turn earn three times as much as programs that are broadcast in the middle of the night.

  • The duration of the copy – a 60 minute program will receive more than a 30 minute program.

Copyright Splits

Screenrights allocates royalties to different copyright materials that make a program, including film, script, and sound recordings. In Screenrights’ Distribution Policy we refer to this as the Scheme of Allocation. 

The current allocation for the Australian Retransmission Service is:

Copyright Split
Cinematograph Film (‘Film’) 68.50%
Literary & Dramatic Work (‘Script’) 22.10%
Commissioned Sound Recordings 0.67%
Musical Works 7.40%
Library Sound Recordings 0.21%
Commercial Sound Recordings 1.11%

Registration and payment

Once you have reviewed your agreements and established that you hold the relevant rights ( you can claim Screenrights royalties by becoming a member and registering your entitlements to collect royalties for films, documentaries and TV shows on MyScreenrights. When you are registering a program, you are warranting to Screenrights that you are entitled to claim the royalties you have specified in your registration. 

We recommend registering your claims as soon as practicable after the film, TV show, documentary or other screen project has been released, or after you have received an assignment of rights or have been appointed to collect on another party’s behalf.

Distribution Policy

More detail on how royalties are calculated can be found in our Distribution Policy.

View Full Distribution Policy