This excerpt taken from the DIS 10-K filed Dec 7, 2005.
The Company adopted EITF No. 00-21, Revenue Arrangements with Multiple Deliverables (EITF 00-21), effective at the beginning of fiscal 2003. EITF 00-21 addresses revenue recognition for revenues derived from a single contractual arrangement that contains multiple products or services. The rule provides additional requirements to determine when such revenues may be recorded separately for accounting purposes. Previously, the Company had recognized the NFL broadcast portion of ESPNs affiliate revenue when the NFL games were aired, as ESPNs affiliate contracts provided a basis for allocating such revenue between NFL and non-NFL programming. Since the cost of the NFL rights had also been recognized as the games were aired, the Company recognized both the NFL revenues and NFL costs in the quarters the games were aired.
Under EITF 00-21s requirements for separating the revenue elements of a single contract, beginning in fiscal 2003 the Company no longer allocates ESPNs affiliate revenue between NFL and non-NFL programming for accounting purposes. As a consequence, the Company no longer matches all NFL revenue with NFL costs, as ESPN affiliate revenue (including the NFL portion) is generally recognized ratably throughout the year, while NFL contract costs continue to be recognized in the quarters the games are aired. This accounting change impacts only the timing of revenue recognition and has no impact on cash flow. As a result of this change, the Media Networks segment reports significantly reduced revenue and profitability in the first fiscal quarter when the majority of the NFL games are aired, with commensurately increased revenues and profits in the second and third fiscal quarters.
The Company elected to adopt this new accounting rule using the cumulative effect approach and recorded an after-tax charge of $71 million for the cumulative effect of a change in accounting as of the beginning of fiscal year 2003. This amount represented the revenue recorded for NFL games in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2002, which has been recorded ratably over fiscal 2003 under the new accounting method.
Effective with the beginning of fiscal 2005 and in connection with the completion of the Companys implementation of new company-wide accounting systems in late fiscal 2004, the Company changed its reporting period from a calendar period end to a period end that coincides with the cut-off of the Companys accounting systems. The accounting systems cut off on the Saturday closest to the calendar quarter end. Accordingly, fiscal 2005 began on October 1, 2004 and ended on October 1, 2005. This resulted in the same number of reporting days in each year, since fiscal 2004 included the additional day associated with the leap year. The change did not have a material impact on year-over-year earnings comparisons. Fiscal 2009 will be the first fifty-three week fiscal year following this change.
Certain reclassifications have been made in the fiscal 2004 and fiscal 2003 financial statements to conform to the fiscal 2005 presentation.
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the financial statements and footnotes thereto. Actual results may differ from those estimates.
Broadcast advertising revenues are recognized when commercials are aired. Revenues from television subscription services related to the Companys primary cable programming services are recognized as services are provided. Certain of the Companys contracts with cable service providers include annual programming commitments. In these cases, revenue subject to the commitment, which is generally collected ratably over the year, is deferred until the annual commitments are satisfied which generally results in higher revenue recognition in the second half of the year.
Revenues from advance theme park ticket sales are recognized when the tickets are used. For non-expiring, multi-day tickets and tickets sold through bulk distribution channels, we recognize revenue based on estimated usage patterns which are derived from historical usage patterns. Revenues from corporate sponsors at the theme parks are generally recognized over the period of the applicable agreements commencing with the opening of the related attraction.
Revenues from the theatrical distribution of motion pictures are recognized when motion pictures are exhibited. Revenues from video sales, net of anticipated returns, are recognized on the date that video units are made available for sale by retailers. Revenues from the licensing of feature films and television programming are recorded when the material is available for telecasting by the licensee and when certain other conditions are met.
Merchandise licensing advance and guarantee royalty payments are recognized when the underlying royalties are earned.
Advertising costs are expensed as incurred. Advertising expense incurred for fiscal 2005, 2004 and 2003 totaled $2.9 billion, $3.0 billion and $2.5 billion, respectively.
Cash and cash equivalents consist of cash on hand and marketable securities with original maturities of three months or less.
Debt securities that the Company has the positive intent and ability to hold to maturity are classified as held-to-maturity and reported at amortized cost. Debt securities not classified as held-to-maturity and marketable equity securities are classified as either trading or available-for-sale, and are recorded at fair value with unrealized gains and losses included in earnings or shareholders equity, respectively. All other equity securities are accounted for using either the cost method or the equity method.
The Company regularly reviews its investments to determine whether a decline in fair value below the cost basis is other than temporary. If the decline in fair value is judged to be other than temporary, the cost basis of the security is written down to fair value and the amount of the write-down is included in the Consolidated Statements of Income.