Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
In addition to the significant accounting policies discussed in this Note 3, the following table includes our significant accounting policies that are described in other notes to our consolidated financial statements, including the number and page of the note:
Significant Accounting Policy
Fair Value Measurements
Property and Equipment
Equity Method Investments
Cash and Cash Equivalents
Our cash and cash equivalents consist of cash on hand, money market funds, certificates of deposit, in-transit credit card receipts and highly liquid investments purchased with an original maturity of three months or less.
Revenue is measured according to Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") 606, Revenue - Revenue from Contracts with Customers, and is recognized based on consideration specified in a contract with a customer, and excludes any sales incentives and amounts collected on behalf of third parties. We recognize revenue when it satisfies a performance obligation by transferring control over a service or product to a customer. We report revenues net of any tax assessed by a governmental authority that is both imposed on, and concurrent with, a specific revenue-producing transaction between a seller and a customer in our consolidated statements of comprehensive income. For equipment sales, we are responsible for arranging for shipping and handling. Shipping and handling costs billed to customers are recorded as revenue and are reported as a component of Cost of equipment.
The following is a description of the principal activities from which we generate our revenue, including from self-pay and paid promotional subscribers, advertising, and sales of equipment.
Subscriber revenue consists primarily of subscription fees and other ancillary subscription based revenues. Revenue is recognized on a straight line basis when the performance obligations to provide each service for the period are satisfied, which is over time as our subscription services are continuously transmitted and can be consumed by customers at any time. Consumers purchasing or leasing a vehicle with a factory-installed satellite radio typically receive between a three and twelve month subscription to our service. In certain cases, the subscription fees for these consumers are prepaid by the applicable automaker. Prepaid subscription fees received from automakers or directly from consumers are recorded as deferred revenue and amortized to revenue ratably over the service period which commences upon sale. Activation fees are recognized over one month as the activation fees are non-refundable and do not provide for a material right to the customer. There is no revenue recognized for unpaid trial subscriptions. In some cases we pay a loyalty fee to the OEM when we receive a certain amount of payments from self-pay customers acquired from that OEM. These fees are considered incremental costs to obtain a contract and are, therefore, recognized as an asset and amortized to Subscriber acquisition costs over an average subscriber life. Revenue share and loyalty fees paid to an OEM offering a paid trial are accounted for as a reduction of revenue as the payment does not provide a distinct good or service.
We recognize revenue from the sale of advertising as performance obligations are satisfied upon airing of the advertising; therefore, revenue is recognized at a point in time when each advertising spot is transmitted. Agency fees are calculated based on a stated percentage applied to gross billing revenue for our advertising inventory and are reported as a reduction of advertising revenue. Additionally, we pay certain third parties a percentage of advertising revenue. Advertising revenue is recorded gross of such revenue share payments as we control the advertising service, including the ability to establish pricing, and we are primarily responsible for providing the service. Advertising revenue share payments are recorded to Revenue share and royalties during the period in which the advertising is transmitted.
Equipment revenue and royalties from the sale of satellite radios, components and accessories are recognized when the performance obligation is satisfied and control is transferred, which is generally upon shipment. Revenue is recognized net of discounts and rebates. Shipping and handling costs billed to customers are recorded as revenue. Shipping and handling costs associated with shipping goods to customers are reported as a component of Cost of equipment.
Music royalty fee and other revenue primarily consists of U.S. music royalty fees ("MRF") collected from subscribers. The related costs we incur for the right to broadcast music and other programming are recorded as Revenue share and royalties expense. Fees received from subscribers for the MRF are recorded as deferred revenue and amortized to revenue ratably over the service period as the royalties relate to the subscription services which are continuously delivered to our customers.
Customers pay for the services in advance of the performance obligation and therefore these prepayments are recorded as deferred revenue. The deferred revenue is recognized as revenue in our consolidated statement of comprehensive income as the services are provided. Changes in the deferred revenue balance during the period ended December 31, 2018 was not materially impacted by other factors.
As the majority of our contracts are one year or less, we have utilized the optional exemption under ASC 606-10-50-14 and will not disclose information about the remaining performance obligations for contracts which have original expected durations of one year or less. As of December 31, 2018, less than ten percent of our total deferred revenue balance related to contracts that extended beyond one year. These contracts primarily include prepaid data trials which are typically provided for three to five years as well as for self-pay customers who prepay for their audio subscriptions for up to three years in advance. These amounts are recognized on a straight-line basis as our services are provided.
We share a portion of our subscription revenues earned from self-pay subscribers with certain automakers. The terms of the revenue share agreements vary with each automaker, but are typically based upon the earned audio revenue as reported or gross billed audio revenue.
Programming costs which are for a specified number of events are amortized on an event-by-event basis; programming costs which are for a specified season or include programming through a dedicated channel are amortized over the season or period on a straight-line basis. We allocate a portion of certain programming costs which are related to sponsorship and marketing activities to Sales and marketing expense on a straight-line basis over the term of the agreement.
Media is expensed when aired and advertising production costs are expensed as incurred. Advertising production costs include expenses related to marketing and retention activities, including expenses related to direct mail, outbound telemarketing and email communications. We also incur advertising production costs related to cooperative marketing and promotional events and sponsorships. During the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, we recorded advertising costs of $266,935, $262,701 and $226,969, respectively. These costs are reflected in Sales and marketing expense in our consolidated statements of comprehensive income.
Subscriber Acquisition Costs
Subscriber acquisition costs consist of costs incurred to acquire new subscribers which include hardware subsidies paid to radio manufacturers, distributors and automakers, including subsidies paid to automakers who include a satellite radio and a prepaid subscription to our service in the sale or lease price of a new vehicle; subsidies paid for chipsets and certain other components used in manufacturing radios; device royalties for certain radios and chipsets; commissions paid to retailers and automakers as incentives to purchase, install and activate radios; product warranty obligations; freight; and provisions for inventory allowance attributable to inventory consumed in our OEM and retail distribution channels. Subscriber acquisition costs do not include advertising costs, loyalty payments to distributors and dealers of radios and revenue share payments to automakers and retailers of radios.
Subsidies paid to radio manufacturers and automakers are expensed upon installation, shipment, receipt of product or activation and are included in Subscriber acquisition costs because we are responsible for providing the service to the customers. Commissions paid to retailers and automakers are expensed upon either the sale or activation of radios. Chipsets that are shipped to radio manufacturers and held on consignment are recorded as inventory and expensed as Subscriber acquisition costs when placed into production by radio manufacturers. Costs for chipsets not held on consignment are expensed as Subscriber acquisition costs when the automaker confirms receipt.
Research & Development Costs
Research and development costs are expensed as incurred and primarily include the cost of new product development, chipset design, software development and engineering. During the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, we recorded research and development costs of $105,975, $96,917 and $69,025, respectively. These costs are reported as a component of Engineering, design and development expense in our consolidated statements of comprehensive income.
Accumulated Other Comprehensive (Loss) Income, net of tax
Accumulated other comprehensive loss of $6,193 was primarily comprised of the cumulative foreign currency translation adjustments related to Sirius XM Canada (refer to Note 11 for additional information). During the year ended December 31, 2018, we recorded a foreign currency translation adjustment loss of $28,613, which is recorded net of tax of $9,451. In addition, we reclassified stranded tax effects of $4,013 related to the adoption of Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") 2018-02, Income Statement - Reporting Comprehensive Income (Topic 220): Reclassification of Certain Tax Effects from Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income. During the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, we recorded foreign currency translation adjustment gains of $18,546 and $363, respectively, net of tax.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
In August 2018, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued ASU 2018-15, Intangibles—Goodwill and Other—Internal-Use Software (Subtopic 350-40): Customer’s Accounting for Implementation Costs Incurred in a Cloud Computing Arrangement That Is a Service Contract. The amendments in this ASU align the requirements for capitalizing implementation costs incurred in a hosting arrangement with the requirements for capitalizing implementation costs incurred to develop or obtain internal-use software. The implementation costs incurred in a hosting arrangement that is a service contract should be presented as a prepaid asset in the balance sheet and expensed over the term of the hosting arrangement to the same line item in the statement of income as the costs related to the hosting fees. The guidance in this ASU is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, including interim periods within those fiscal years, and early adoption is permitted including adoption in any interim period. The amendments should be applied either retrospectively or prospectively to all implementation costs incurred after adoption. This ASU will not have a material impact on our consolidated statements of operations.
In February 2016, FASB issued ASU 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842). This ASU requires a company to recognize lease assets and liabilities arising from operating leases in the statement of financial position. This ASU does not significantly change the previous lease guidance for how a lessee should recognize the recognition, measurement, and presentation of expenses and cash flows arising from a lease. Additionally, the criteria for classifying a finance lease versus an operating lease are substantially the same as the previous guidance. This ASU is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, including interim periods within those fiscal years, and early adoption is permitted. In July 2018, the FASB issued ASU 2018-11, Leases (Topic 842) Targeted Improvements, amending certain aspects of the new leasing standard. The amendment allows an additional optional transition method whereby an entity records a cumulative effect adjustment to opening retained earnings in the year of adoption without restating prior periods. We will adopt this ASU on January 1, 2019 and elected the additional transition method and do not expect to record a cumulative effect adjustment to opening Accumulated deficit. Our leases consist of repeater leases, facility leases and equipment leases. We expect the adoption of ASU 2016-02 will result in the recognition of right-of-use assets of approximately $360,000 and lease liabilities of approximately $370,000 in our consolidated balance sheets for operating leases and will not impact our consolidated statements of operations or our debt.
Recently Adopted Accounting Policies
ASU 2014-09, Revenue - Revenue from Contracts with Customers. In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU 2014-09 which requires entities to recognize revenues when control of the promised goods or services is transferred to customers at an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled to in exchange for those goods or services. In addition, the standard requires disclosure of the nature, amount, timing and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows arising from contracts with customers. We adopted ASU 2014-09, and all related amendments, which established ASC Topic 606 (the "new revenue standard"), effective as of January 1, 2018. We adopted the new revenue standard using the modified retrospective method by recognizing the cumulative effect of initially applying the new revenue standard to all non-completed contracts as of January 1, 2018 as an adjustment to opening Accumulated deficit in the period of adoption. Results for reporting periods beginning after January 1, 2018 are presented under the new revenue standard, while prior period amounts are not adjusted and continue to be reported in accordance with our historic accounting under Topic 605.
The new revenue standard primarily impacts how we account for revenue share payments and also has other immaterial impacts.
Revenue Share - Paid Trials
We previously recorded revenue share related to paid trials as Revenue share and royalties expense. Under the new revenue standard, we have recorded these revenue share payments as a reduction to revenue as the payments do not transfer a distinct good or service to us. Prior to the adoption, we recognized revenue share related to paid trial subscriptions as the Current portion of deferred revenue. Under the new revenue standard, we reclassified the revenue share related to paid trial subscriptions existing as of the date of adoption from Current portion of deferred revenue to Accounts payable and accrued expenses. For new paid trial subscriptions, the net amount of the paid trial subscription is recorded as deferred revenue and the portion of revenue share is recorded to Accounts payable and accrued expenses.
Other impacts of the new revenue standard include:
Activation fees were previously recognized over the expected subscriber life using the straight-line method. Under the new revenue standard, activation fees have been recognized over a one month period from activation as the activation fees are non-refundable and they do not convey a material right. As of January 1, 2018, we reduced deferred revenue related to activation fees of $8,260, net of tax, to Accumulated deficit.
Loyalty payments to OEMs were previously expensed when incurred as Subscriber acquisition costs. Under the new revenue standard, these costs have been capitalized in Prepaid expenses and other current assets as costs to obtain a contract and these costs will be amortized to Subscriber acquisition costs over an average self-pay subscriber life of that OEM. As of January 1, 2018, we capitalized previously expensed loyalty payments of $10,156, net of tax, to Prepaid expenses and other current assets by reducing Accumulated deficit.
These changes do not have a material impact to our financial statements.
ASU 2018-02, Income Statement - Reporting Comprehensive Income (Topic 220): Reclassification of Certain Tax Effects from Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income. In February 2018, the FASB issued ASU 2018-02 to amend its standard on comprehensive income to provide an option for an entity to reclassify the stranded tax effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Act”) that was passed in December 2017 from accumulated other comprehensive income (“AOCI”) directly to retained earnings. The stranded tax effects result from the remeasurement of deferred tax assets and liabilities which were originally recorded in comprehensive income but whose remeasurement is reflected in the income statement. The guidance is effective for interim and fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, with early adoption permitted. We elected to adopt ASU 2018-02 effective January 1, 2018 and reclassified the stranded tax effects due to the Tax Act of $4,013 related to the currency translation adjustment from our investment balance and note receivable with Sirius XM Canada from AOCI to Accumulated deficit. The adoption did not have any impact on our consolidated statement of comprehensive income.
ASU 2018-07, Compensation-Stock Compensation (Topic 718): Improvements to Nonemployee Share-Based Payment Accounting. In June 2018, the FASB issued ASU 2018-07 which simplifies the accounting for share-based payments made to nonemployees so that the accounting for such payments is substantially the same as those made to employees, with certain exceptions. Under this ASU, equity-classified share based awards to nonemployees will be measured at fair value on the grant date of the awards, entities will need to assess the probability of satisfying performance conditions if any are present, and awards will continue to be classified according to ASC 718 upon vesting which eliminates the need to reassess classification upon vesting, consistent with awards granted to employees, unless the award is modified after the service has been rendered, any other conditions necessary to earn the right to benefit from the instruments have been satisfied, and the nonemployee is no longer providing services. The guidance is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, including interim periods within those fiscal years, and early adoption is permitted. We elected to early adopt ASU 2018-07 effective July 1, 2018 and remeasured our unsettled liability-classified nonemployee awards at their January 1, 2018 fair value by recording a retrospective cumulative effect adjustment to opening Accumulated deficit and reclassified our previously liability-classified awards to equity.
The cumulative effects of the changes made to our consolidated balance sheet as of January 1, 2018 for the adoption of ASU 2014-09, ASU 2018-02 and ASU 2018-07 are included in the table below.
December 31, 2017
Adjustments Due to ASU 2014-09
Adjustments Due to ASU 2018-02
Adjustments Due to ASU 2018-07
January 1, 2018
Prepaid expenses and other current assets
Other long-term assets
Deferred tax assets
Accounts payable and accrued expenses
Current portion of deferred revenue
Long-term deferred revenue
Additional paid-in capital
AOCI, net of tax
The following tables illustrate the impacts of adopting ASU 2014-09 on our consolidated statement of comprehensive income.
For the Year Ended December 31, 2018
Impact of Adopting ASU 2014-09
Balances Without Adoption of ASU 2014-09
Revenue share and royalties
Subscriber acquisition costs
Income tax expense
ASU 2016-18, Statement of Cash Flows (Topic 230): Restricted Cash. In November 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-18, Statement of Cash Flows (Topic 230): Restricted Cash. This ASU updates the guidance related to the statement of cash flows and requires that the statement includes restricted cash with cash and cash equivalents when reconciling beginning and ending cash. The guidance was effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017, including interim periods within that reporting period. We adopted this ASU effective January 1, 2018. As a result of the adoption, we have added restricted cash to the reconciliation of beginning and ending cash and cash equivalents and included a reconciliation of total cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash to the balance sheet for each period presented in the consolidated statements of cash flows.
ASU 2016-09, Compensation-Stock Compensation (Topic 718): Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting. We elected to early adopt this ASU in the third quarter of 2016, which required that any adjustments be reflected as of January 1, 2016, the beginning of the annual period that includes the interim period of adoption. The areas for simplification in this ASU involve several aspects of the accounting for share-based payment transactions, including the income tax consequences, classification of awards as either equity or liabilities, forfeiture calculations, and classification on the statement of cash flows. The primary impact of adoption of ASU 2016-09 was the recognition of excess tax benefits in our provision for income taxes.
Additionally, we recognized net operating losses related to excess share-based compensation tax return deductions that were previously tracked off balance sheet but not recorded in our financial statements. As of January 1, 2016, $293,896, net of a $1,946 reserve for an uncertain tax position, was recorded as an increase to our Deferred tax assets and decrease to our Accumulated deficit in our consolidated balance sheets as a result of the cumulative effect of this change in accounting principle.