Improvements to Accounting for Costs of Films and
License Agreements for Program Materials (EITF 18-B)

ASU 2019-02—Entertainment—Films—Other assets—Film costs (Subtopic 926-20) and Entertainment—Broadcasters—Intangibles—Goodwill and Other (Subtopic 920-350): Improvements to Accounting for Costs of Films and License Agreements for Program Materials

 

Overview


On March 6, 2019, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued an Accounting Standards Update (ASU) that improves the accounting for costs of films and license agreements.

Subtopic 926-20, Entertainment—Films—Other Assets—Film Costs, previously included different capitalization requirements for production costs in the entertainment industry based on the type of content being produced. For films, all production costs as specified in Subtopic 926-20 were capitalized. For an episodic television series, production costs specified in Subtopic 926-20 were capitalized up to the amount of revenue contracted for each episode in the initial market until persuasive evidence existed that revenue from secondary markets would occur or an entity could demonstrate a history of earning such revenue in that market. Considering significant changes in production and distribution models in the entertainment industry, some stakeholders questioned whether the capitalization guidance for episodic television series in Subtopic 926-20 provided relevant information for investors and other users. Stakeholders also suggested aligning Subtopic 920-350, Entertainment—Broadcasters—Intangibles—Goodwill and Other, which provides guidance for license agreements for program materials, to any changes made to Subtopic 926-20. The amendments in this Update better reflect the economics of an episodic television series, align the accounting with the accounting for films, and provide more relevant financial reporting information to users of financial statements.
 
The amendments in this Update apply to broadcasters and entities that produce and distribute films and episodic television series.
 
The amendments in this Update align the accounting for production costs of an episodic television series with the accounting for production costs of films by removing the content distinction for capitalization. The amendments also require that an entity reassess estimates of the use of a film for a film in a film group and account for any changes prospectively.
 
The amendments in this Update require that an entity test a film or license agreement for program material within the scope of Subtopic 920-350 for impairment at a film group level when the film or license agreement is predominantly monetized with other films and/or license agreements. A film group is the lowest level at which identifiable cash flows are largely independent of the cash flows of other films and/or license agreements. The amendments also:
  1. Add examples of events or changes in circumstances that indicate that an entity should assess a film group for impairment
  2. Add examples of events or changes in circumstances that indicate that an entity should assess an individual film for impairment after its release
  3. Require an entity to reassess the predominant monetization strategy when a significant change in the monetization strategy occurs
  4. Align the impairment model in Subtopic 920-350 with the fair value model in Subtopic 926-20
  5. Require an entity to write off unamortized film costs when a film is substantively abandoned.
The amendments address presentation, require that an entity provide new disclosures about content that is either produced or licensed, and address cash flow classification for license agreements.
 

How Do the Amendments Improve Current Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)?


GAAP provides different requirements for cost capitalization of production costs depending on the type of content being produced. Accordingly, the amendments in this Update improve GAAP by aligning the accounting for production costs of episodic television series with the accounting for production costs of films. In addition, the amendments require that an entity test a film or license agreement within the scope of Subtopic 920-350 for impairment at the film group level, when the film or license agreement is predominantly monetized with other films and/or license agreements. This improvement addresses application issues with existing guidance as a result of changes in the industry and better reflects the economics of how certain entities monetize their content. The presentation and disclosure requirements also increase the transparency of information provided to users of financial statements about produced and licensed content.
 

Effective Dates


For public business entities, the amendments in this Update are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, and interim periods within those fiscal years. For all other entities, the amendments are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2020, and interim periods within those fiscal years. Early adoption is permitted, including early adoption in an interim period, (1) for public business entities for periods for which financial statements have not yet been issued and (2) for all other entities for periods for which financial statements have not yet been made available for issuance.
 

Transition


The amendments in this Update should be applied prospectively. Under a prospective transition, an entity should apply the amendments at the beginning of the period that includes the adoption date.
 

Additional Information

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