logged in [ logout ]

NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Fall 2010

Instructor Details

Griff, Lawrence


917 488-9380

Mondays prior to class

To be determined


Course Meetings

M, 6:00pm to 9:00pm

KMC 5-85

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

In this course, we will study various entertainment enterprises including movies, television, music, publishing, broadcasting, and the internet.  We will analyze and discuss in-depth how accounting for particular transactions impacts the financial results of these enterprises.  Accounting topics will include revenue recognition, goodwill and intangibles, amortization of inventory, stock compensation and royalties. 


Course Pre-Requisites

Students are assumed to have a working knowledge of accounting principles comparable to materials covered in the core financial accounting course.


Course Outline

Class 1


We will briefly discuss the different media businesses.  We will discuss the different revenue sources and types of costs for these entertainment enterprises.  We will begin to lay the framework of how accounting impacts the financial statements of these enterprises. 


Please pre-read from EIE:

  • Chapter 3 – Movie macroeconomics - pages 88-99
  • Chapter 6 – Music
  • Chapter 7 – Broadcasting – pages 281-290
  • Chapter 8 – Cable – pages 312-325
  • Chapter 9 – Publishing – pages 339-348



Class 2


We will discuss in-depth revenue recognition issue related to entertainment enterprises. 


Please pre-read:

  • Intermediate Accounting, Chapter 7 – Revenue Recognition
  • SEC SAB 104, “Revenue Recognition” – sec.gov
  • EITF No. 99-19 “Reporting Revenue Gross as a Principal versus Net as an Agent” – fasb.org



Class 3


We will discuss in-depth financial accounting in movies and television.  Topics will include capitalization, amortization, and impairment of film costs, purchase accounting matters unique to film costs, and revenue recognition.


Please pre-read:

  • EIE, Chapter 5 – Financial accounting in movies and television
  • SOP 00-2  “Accounting by Producers or Distributors of Films” – fasb.org


Class 4


We will discuss usually the largest asset, goodwill and intangible, on the balance sheet for many media and entertainment companies.  Topics will include purchase accounting, indefinite vs. definite lived intangibles, length and type of amortization, and write-offs.


Please pre-read:

  • Intermediate Accounting, Chapter 11 Revenue Recognition
  • SFAS 142 - Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets – fasb.org


Class 5


We will begin the class with group presentations.  We will discuss in-depth accounting issues related to the music industry.  The topics we will cover will include revenue (licensing arrangements, minimum guarantees, gross versus net, cash vs. accrual), royalty advances, cost capitalization and amortization, valuation and impairment.  We will also discuss the cable industry and specific accounting issues related to this industry including cable installation fees, capitalization of costs, depreciation and amortization of long-lived assets.


Please pre-read:


  • Statement of Financial Reporting Standards No. 50 – Financial Reporting in the Record and Music Industry – fasb.org
  • SFAS No. 51 – Financial Reporting by Cable Television Companies



Class 6


An important accounting issue in media and entertainment is compensation.  There are very specific accounting rules related to this issue.  Small differences in the stock compensation terms can have a dramatic impact on the financial results of a company.  We will discuss the key accounting elements related to stock option and other stock grants.


Please pre-read:


  • Intermediate Accounting, Chapter 16 Accounting for Compensation
  • SFAS No. 123R - Share-Based Payment


Required Course Materials

The primary book that we will use is Entertainment Industry Economics, A Guide for Financial Analysis, Seventh Edition (EIE).  We will also use Intermediate Accounting, Principles and Analysis, Second Edition, Chapters 7 – Revenue Recognition and Chapter 11 – Intangible Assets.  Additionally, we will study various public filings of media and entertainment companies and in particular the critical accounting policies that each company uses.


Two internet addresses will be useful to you during this course:


  1. Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission: sec.gov
  2. Pronouncements of the Financial Accounting Standards Board: fasb.org


Assessment Components

Your grade will be based on a group project (35%), take-home exam (40%) and class participation/homework (25%).  Homework will consist of problems from Intermediate Accounting, Principles and Analysis.  The group project will involved selecting one of the following media and entertainment companies, Time Warner, News Corp., Viacom, CBS, Walt Disney, or NBC Universal and analyzing the critical accounting policies and their impact on the financial results of the company.


Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of the project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

  • 25-35% of students can expect to receive A’s for excellent work
  • 50-70% of students can expect to receive B’s for good or very good work
  • 5-15% of students can expect to receive C’s or less for adequate or below work 

Note that while the School uses these ranges  as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well  you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course


  • Class attendance is essential to your success in this course and is part of your grade. An excused absence can only be granted in cases of serious illness, grave family emergencies, or religious observance and must be documented. Job interviews and incompatible travel plans are considered unexcused absences. Where possible, please notify me in advance of an excused absence.



In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:

  • Providing strong evidence of having thought through the material.
  • Advancing the discussion by contributing insightful comments and questions.
  • Listening attentively in class.
  • Demonstrating interest in your peers' comments, questions, and presentations.
  • Giving constructive feedback to your peers when appropriate.



  • Late assignments will either not be accepted or will incur a grade penalty unless due to documented serious illness or family emergency. Exceptions to this policy for reasons of religious observance or civic obligation will only be made available when the assignment cannot reasonably be completed prior to the due date and you make arrangements for late submission in advance.


Classroom Norms

  • Arrive to class on time and stay to the end of the class period. Chronically arriving late or leaving class early is unprofessional and disruptive to the entire class.  Repeated tardiness will have an impact on your grade.
  • Turn off all electronic devices prior to the start of class. Laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices are a distraction to everyone.


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

  • Exercise integrity in all aspects of one's academic work including, but not limited to, the preparation and completion of exams, papers and all other course requirements by not engaging in any method or means that provides an unfair advantage.
  • Clearly acknowledge the work and efforts of others when submitting written work as one’s own. Ideas, data, direct quotations (which should be designated with quotation marks), paraphrasing, creative expression, or any other incorporation of the work of others should be fully referenced. 
  • Refrain from behaving in ways that knowingly support, assist, or in any way attempt to enable another person to engage in any violation of the Code of Conduct. Our support also includes reporting any observed violations of this Code of Conduct or other School and University policies that are deemed to adversely affect the NYU Stern community.

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


Printer Friendly Version