Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments And Contingencies

Commitments And Contingencies
6 Months Ended
Jun. 30, 2011
Commitments And Contingencies Note  
Commitments And Contingencies

(12)      Commitments and Contingencies

Film Rights

Starz, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty, provides premium video programming distributed by cable operators, direct-to-home satellite providers, telephone companies, other distributors and the Internet throughout the United States.  Starz has entered into agreements with a number of motion picture producers which obligate Starz to pay fees ("Programming Fees") for the rights to exhibit certain films that are released by these producers.  The unpaid balance of Programming Fees for films that were available for exhibition by Starz at June 30, 2011 is reflected as a liability in the accompanying condensed consolidated balance sheet.  The balance due as of June 30, 2011 is payable as follows: $90 million in 2011 and $3 million in 2012.


Starz has also contracted to pay Programming Fees for films that have been released theatrically, but are not available for exhibition by Starz until some future date.  These amounts have not been accrued at June 30, 2011.  Starz is obligated to pay Programming Fees for all qualifying films that are released theatrically in the United States by studios owned by The Walt Disney Company ("Disney") through 2015 and all qualifying films that are released theatrically in the United States by studios owned by Sony through 2016.  Films are generally available to Starz Entertainment for exhibition 9-12 months after their theatrical release.  The Programming Fees to be paid by Starz are based on the quantity and the domestic theatrical exhibition receipts of qualifying films.  As these films have not yet been released in theatres, Starz is unable to estimate the amounts to be paid under these output agreements.  However, such amounts are expected to be significant.


In addition, Starz has agreed to pay Sony Pictures Entertainment ("Sony") a total of $142.5 million in three remaining annual installments of $47.5 million with the next installment due at the beginning of 2012. In December 2008, Starz  entered into a new agreement with Sony requiring $120 million in three equal annual installments beginning in 2015.  Starz's estimate of amounts payable for rights to future programming (that have been released), including the Disney and Sony agreements, is as follows: $168 million in 2011; $351 million in 2012; $82 million in 2013; $67 million in 2014; $55 million in 2015 and $90 million thereafter.


Liberty guarantees Starz's obligations under certain of its studio output agreements.  At June 30, 2011, Liberty's guarantees for obligations for films released by such date aggregated $629 million.  While the guarantee amount for films not yet released is not determinable, such amount is expected to be significant.  As noted above, Starz has recognized the liability for a portion of its obligations under the output agreements.  As this represents a direct commitment of Starz, a consolidated subsidiary of Liberty, Liberty has not recorded a separate indirect liability for its guarantee of these obligations.


In connection with agreements for the sale of assets by Liberty or its subsidiaries, Liberty may retain liabilities that relate to events occurring prior to its sale, such as tax, environmental, litigation and employment matters.  Liberty generally indemnifies the purchaser in the event that a third party asserts a claim against the purchaser that relates to a liability retained by Liberty.  These types of indemnification obligations may extend for a number of years.  Liberty is unable to estimate the maximum potential liability for these types of indemnification obligations as the sale agreements may not specify a maximum amount and the amounts are dependent upon the outcome of future contingent events, the nature and likelihood of which cannot be determined at this time.  Historically, Liberty has not made any significant indemnification payments under such agreements and no amount has been accrued in the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements with respect to these indemnification guarantees.


Employment Contracts

The Atlanta Braves and certain of their players and coaches have entered into long-term employment contracts whereby such individuals' compensation is guaranteed.  Amounts due under guaranteed contracts as of June 30, 2011 aggregated $176 million, which is payable as follows:  $58 million in 2011, $72  million in 2012 and $20 million in 2013 and $13 million in 2014 and $13 million thereafter.  In addition to the foregoing amounts, certain players and coaches may earn incentive compensation under the terms of their employment contracts.


Operating Leases

Liberty and its subsidiaries lease business offices, have entered into satellite transponder lease agreements and use certain equipment under lease arrangements.



Liberty has contingent liabilities related to legal and tax proceedings and other matters arising in the ordinary course of business.  Although it is reasonably possible Liberty may incur losses upon conclusion of such matters, an estimate of any loss or range of loss cannot be made.  In the opinion of management, it is expected that amounts, if any, which may be required to satisfy such contingencies will not be material in relation to the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements.