Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments and Contingencies
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2024
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Commitments and Contingencies Commitments and Contingencies 
The following table summarizes our expected contractual cash commitments as of March 31, 2024:
  2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 Thereafter Total
Debt obligations $ 504  $ $ 1,035  $ 1,500  $ 2,000  $ 4,249  $ 9,294 
Cash interest payments 199  385  383  345  269  367  1,948 
Satellite and transmission 225  210  92  40  —  569 
Programming and content 314  348  236  148  79  63  1,188 
Sales and marketing 78  29  18  —  —  131 
Satellite incentive payments 12  35 
Operating lease obligations 43  52  48  40  30  49  262 
Royalties, minimum guarantees and other 436  561  741  257  251  270  2,516 
Total (1)
$ 1,805  $ 1,599  $ 2,556  $ 2,339  $ 2,632  $ 5,012  $ 15,943 
(1)The table does not include our reserve for uncertain tax positions, which at March 31, 2024 totaled $64.
Debt obligations.    Debt obligations include principal payments on outstanding debt and finance lease obligations.
Cash interest payments.    Cash interest payments include interest due on outstanding debt and capital lease payments through maturity.
Satellite and transmission.    We have entered into agreements for the design, construction and launch of four additional satellites, SXM-9, SXM-10, SXM-11 and SXM-12. We also have entered into agreements with third parties to operate and maintain satellite telemetry, tracking and control facilities and certain components of our terrestrial repeater networks.
Programming and content.    We have entered into various programming and content agreements. Under the terms of these agreements, our obligations include fixed payments, advertising commitments and revenue sharing arrangements. In
certain of these agreements, the future revenue sharing costs are dependent upon many factors and are difficult to estimate; therefore, they are not included in our minimum contractual cash commitments.
Sales and marketing.    We have entered into various marketing, sponsorship and distribution agreements to promote our brands and are obligated to make payments to sponsors, retailers, automakers, radio manufacturers and other third parties under these agreements. Certain programming and content agreements also require us to purchase advertising on properties owned or controlled by the licensors.
Satellite incentive payments.    Maxar Technologies (formerly Space Systems/Loral), the manufacturer of certain of our in-orbit satellites, may be entitled to future in-orbit performance payments upon XM-5, SIRIUS FM-5, SIRIUS FM-6, and SXM-8 meeting their fifteen-year design life, which we expect to occur.
Operating lease obligations.    We have entered into both cancelable and non-cancelable operating leases for office space, terrestrial repeaters, data centers and equipment. These leases provide for minimum lease payments, additional operating expense charges, leasehold improvements and rent escalations that have initial terms ranging from one to fifteen years, and certain leases have options to renew.
Royalties, Minimum Guarantees and Other. We have entered into music royalty arrangements that include fixed payments. In addition, certain of our podcast agreements also contain minimum guarantees. As of March 31, 2024, we had future fixed commitments related to music royalty and podcast agreements of $1,049, of which $188 will be paid in 2024 and the remainder will be paid thereafter. On a quarterly basis, we record the greater of the cumulative actual content costs incurred or the cumulative minimum guarantee based on forecasts for the minimum guarantee period. The minimum guarantee period is the period of time that the minimum guarantee relates to, as specified in each agreement, which may be annual or a longer period. The cumulative minimum guarantee, based on forecasts, considers factors such as listening hours, downloads, revenue, subscribers and other terms of each agreement that impact our expected attainment or recoupment of the minimum guarantees based on the relative attribution method.
We have entered into certain tax equity investments in which we expect to make future contributions. These future contributions are expected to be made over the remaining respective terms of the investments and totaled $783 as of March 31, 2024, of which $47 is expected to be paid in 2024 and the remainder thereafter.
Several of our content agreements also include provisions related to the royalty payments and structures of those agreements relative to other content licensing arrangements, which, if triggered, cause our payments under those agreements to escalate. In addition, record labels, publishers and performing rights organizations with whom we have entered into direct license agreements have the right to audit our content payments, and such audits often result in disputes over whether we have paid the proper content costs.
We have also entered into various agreements with third parties for general operating purposes.
In addition to the minimum contractual cash commitments described above, we have entered into other variable cost arrangements. These future costs are dependent upon many factors and are difficult to anticipate; however, these costs may be substantial. We may enter into additional programming, distribution, marketing and other agreements that contain similar variable cost provisions. We do not have any other significant off-balance sheet financing arrangements that are reasonably likely to have a material effect on our financial condition, results of operations, liquidity, capital expenditures or capital resources.
Legal Proceedings
In the ordinary course of business, we are a defendant or party to various claims and lawsuits, including those discussed below.

We record a liability when we believe that it is both probable that a liability will be incurred, and the amount of loss can be reasonably estimated. We evaluate developments in legal matters that could affect the amount of liability that has been previously accrued and make adjustments as appropriate. Significant judgment is required to determine both probability and the estimated amount of a loss or potential loss. We may be unable to reasonably estimate the reasonably possible loss or range
of loss for a particular legal contingency for various reasons, including, among others, because: (i) the damages sought are indeterminate; (ii) the proceedings are in the relative early stages; (iii) there is uncertainty as to the outcome of pending proceedings (including motions and appeals); (iv) there is uncertainty as to the likelihood of settlement and the outcome of any negotiations with respect thereto; (v) there remain significant factual issues to be determined or resolved; (vi) the relevant law is unsettled; or (vii) the proceedings involve novel or untested legal theories. In such instances, there may be considerable uncertainty regarding the ultimate resolution of such matters, including the likelihood or magnitude of a possible eventual loss, if any.

New York State v. Sirius XM Radio Inc. On December 20, 2023, the People of the State of New York, by Letitia James, Attorney General of the State of New York (the “NY AG”), filed a Petition in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, against us. The Petition alleges various violations of New York law and the federal Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (“ROSCA”) arising out of our subscription cancellation practices. The Petition is the product of a subpoena that the NY AG issued in December 2021 seeking documents relating to our subscription cancellation practices and the related investigation. In general, the Petition alleges that we require consumers to devote an excessive amount of time to cancel subscriptions and have not implemented cancellation processes that are simple and efficient.

The Petition claims to be brought under certain provisions of New York law that authorize the NY AG to initiate special proceedings seeking injunctive and other equitable relief in cases of persistent business fraud or illegality. The Petition seeks: a permanent injunction from us violating provisions of New York law and ROSCA arising out of the alleged fraudulent, deceptive and illegal practices associated with our subscription cancellation procedures; an accounting of each consumer who cancelled, or sought to cancel, a satellite radio subscription, including the duration of the cancel interaction and the funds collected from such consumers after that interaction; monetary restitution and damages to aggrieved consumers; disgorgement of all profits resulting from the alleged illegal, deceptive and fraudulent acts; civil penalties; and the NY AG’s costs.

In March 2024, Sirius XM filed its Answer to the Petition which was supported by various factual declarations and asserts affirmative defenses to the allegations contained in the Petition. In connection with the Answer, Sirius XM cross moved for summary judgment with respect to various claims asserted in the Petition. In April 2024, the NY AG filed its responsive pleadings in support of the Petition and in opposition to Sirius XM’s cross motion for summary judgment.

Sirius XM intends to defend this action vigorously.

U.S. Music Royalty Fee Actions and Mass Arbitrations. A number of class actions and mass arbitrations have been commenced against Sirius XM relating to its pricing, billing and subscription marketing practices. Although each class action and mass arbitration contains unique allegations; in general, the actions and arbitrations allege that Sirius XM falsely advertised its music subscription plans at lower prices than it actually charges, that it allegedly did not disclose its “U.S. Music Royalty Fee”, and that Sirius XM has taken other actions to prevent customers from discovering the existence, amount and nature of the U.S. Music Royalty Fee in violation of various state consumer protection laws.

The plaintiffs and claimants seek to enjoin Sirius XM from advertising its music subscription plans without specifically disclosing the existence and amount of the U.S. Music Royalty Fee. The plaintiffs and claimants also seek disgorgement, restitution and/or damages in the aggregate amount of U.S Music Royalty Fees paid by customers, as well as statutory and punitive damages where available.

To date, the actions and arbitrations filed against Sirius XM include:

On April 14, 2023, Ayana Stevenson and David Ambrose, individually, as private attorneys general, and on behalf of all other California persons similarly situated, filed a class action complaint against Sirius XM in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Contra Costa. The case was removed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, which issued an Order on November 9, 2023 granting Sirius XM’s Motion to Compel Arbitration and dismissed the complaint. Plaintiffs appealed the Court’s granting of the Motion, and Sirius XM cross-appealed the Court’s dismissal in lieu of the issuance of a stay pending arbitration. The appeal and cross-appeal are currently stayed in the Ninth Circuit pending resolution of a related issue by the United States Supreme Court.

On May 17, 2023, Robyn Posternock, Muriel Salters and Philip Munning, individually, as private attorneys general, and on behalf of all other New Jersey persons similarly situated, filed a class action complaint against Sirius XM in the
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Sirius XM filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration on August 18, 2023, which remains pending.

On June 5, 2023, Christopher Carovillano and Steven Brandt, individually, as private attorneys general, and on behalf of all other U.S. persons similarly situated (excluding persons in the states of California, New Jersey and Washington), filed a class action complaint against Sirius XM in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. On February 6, 2024, the Court issued an Order denying Sirius XM’s Motion to Dismiss and Sirius XM filed an Answer to the complaint on February 20, 2024.

Commencing in June 2023, various law firms began filing mass arbitration claims against Sirius XM before the American Arbitration Association (the AAA). Collectively, the law firms purport to act on behalf of approximately 53,000 claimants. Several of the law firms have asserted additional causes of action under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act.

Sirius XM believes it has substantial defenses to the claims asserted in these actions and arbitrations, and it intends to defend these actions vigorously.

Other Matters.  In the ordinary course of business, we are a defendant in various other lawsuits and arbitration proceedings, including derivative actions; actions filed by subscribers, both on behalf of themselves and on a class action basis; former employees; parties to contracts or leases; and owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights or other intellectual property. None of these other matters, in our opinion, is likely to have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.