Volume 7, No. 14

 

Lights! Action! Camera! New Firlm Industry Accounting:  Consider financial statements to provide readers with a snapshot of a firm's status at a particular point in time (the balance sheet) and a picture of its performance for a given period (the income and cash flow statements). Accounting, then, might be considered the camera for this kind of portrait. The motion picture industry last received a new "camera" in 1981. The standard that resulted - SFAS No. 53, "Financial Reporting by Producers and Distributors of Motion Picture Films" - prescribed accounting for an industry that has undergone wrenching technological change ever since. At the time that standard was issued, sales of videocassette movies to consumers was unheard of; cable TV was just starting to sprout; and pay-per-view was still an experiment. The Accounting Standards Executive Committee (AcSEC) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has reopened the issue of accounting in the film industry, and addressed it with a broad perspective. The exposure draft of the proposed standard contains some very significant differences from the current reporting that could significantly reduce profits of film producers and distributors.

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