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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D. C.  20549
 FORM 10-K
 
ý
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015
 OR 
o
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 For the transition period from            to           
 
Commission File Number 333-110025
 MONITRONICS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
State of Texas
 
74-2719343
(State or other jurisdiction of
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
incorporation or organization)
 
 
1990 Wittington Place
 
 
Farmers Branch, Texas
 
75234
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
 Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (972) 243-7443
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
 
Name of exchange on which registered
None
 
None
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act of 1933.  Yes o  No ý
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Yes o  No ý
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  Yes ý  No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Website, if any, any Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (Section 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).  Yes ý  No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of Registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  ý
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company.  See the definitions of “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer o
 
Accelerated filer o
 
 
 
Non-accelerated filer x
 
Smaller reporting company o
(Do not check if a smaller reporting company).
 
 
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act)  Yes o  No ý
As of March 7, 2016, Monitronics International, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ascent Capital Group, Inc.  Monitronics International, Inc. meets the conditions set forth in General Instruction I (1) (a) and (b) of the Form 10-K and is therefore filing this Form 10-K with reduced disclosure format.




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MONITRONICS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
2015 ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
Table of Contents
 
 
 
Page
 
 
 
 
PART I
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



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ITEM 1.   BUSINESS
 
(a)  General Development of Business
 
Monitronics International, Inc. and subsidiaries (the "Company" or "Monitronics") is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ascent Capital Group, Inc. ("Ascent Capital").  On December 17, 2010, Ascent Capital acquired 100% of the outstanding capital stock of Monitronics through the merger of Mono Lake Merger Sub, Inc. ("Merger Sub"), a direct wholly-owned subsidiary of Ascent Capital established to consummate the merger, with and into Monitronics, with Monitronics as the surviving corporation in the merger (the "Monitronics Acquisition").  Monitronics was incorporated in the state of Texas on August 31, 1994.
 
On August 16, 2013, Monitronics acquired all of the equity interests of Security Networks, LLC and certain affiliated entities (the "Security Networks Acquisition"). On February 23, 2015, Monitronics acquired LiveWatch Security, LLC ("LiveWatch"), a Do-It-Yourself ("DIY") home security firm, offering professionally monitored security services through a direct-to-customer sales channel (the "LiveWatch Acquisition").

Monitronics provides security alarm monitoring and related services to residential and business subscribers throughout the United States (the “U.S.”) and parts of Canada.  The Company monitors signals arising from burglaries, fires, medical alerts and other events through security systems installed by independent dealers at subscribers’ premises.


Recent Events

On August 16, 2013, in connection with the Security Networks Acquisition, the Company executed and delivered a Promissory Note to Ascent Capital in a principal amount of $100,000,000 (the “Intercompany Loan”).  On February 29, 2016, the Board of Directors of Ascent Capital approved the contribution to the stated capital of Monitronics of $88,000,000 of the $100,000,000 outstanding principal amount under the Intercompany Loan. The remaining $12,000,000 principal amount will be reflected on an Amended and Restated Promissory Note, which is due on October 1, 2020 and will bear interest at a rate equal to 12.5% per annum, payable semi-annually in cash in arrears.

* * * * *

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Certain statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding our business, marketing and operating strategies, integration of acquired businesses, new service offerings, the availability of debt refinancing, financial prospects and anticipated sources and uses of capital. In particular, statements under Item 1. "Business," Item 1A. "Risk Factors", Item 2. "Properties," Item 3. "Legal Proceedings," Item 7. "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and Item 7A. "Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk" contain forward-looking statements. Where, in any forward-looking statement, we express an expectation or belief as to future results or events, such expectation or belief is expressed in good faith and believed to have a reasonable basis, but there can be no assurance that the expectation or belief will result or be achieved or accomplished. The following include some but not all of the factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated.
 
Factors relating to the Company and its consolidated subsidiaries:
 
general business conditions and industry trends;
macroeconomic conditions and their effect on the general economy and on the U.S. housing market, in particular single family homes which represent our largest demographic;
uncertainties in the development of our business strategies, including our increased direct marketing efforts and market acceptance of new products and services;
the competitive environment in which we operate, in particular increasing competition in the alarm monitoring industry from larger existing competitors and new market entrants, including telecommunications and cable companies;
the development of new services or service innovations by competitors;
our ability to acquire and integrate additional accounts, including competition for dealers with other alarm monitoring companies which could cause an increase in expected subscriber acquisition costs;
integration of acquired assets and businesses;
the regulatory environment in which we operate, including the multiplicity of jurisdictions, state and federal consumer protection laws and licensing requirements to which we and/or its dealers is subject and the risk of new regulations, such as the increasing adoption of “false alarm” ordinances;
technological changes which could result in the obsolescence of currently utilized technology and the need for significant upgrade expenditures, including the phase-out of 2G networks by cellular carriers;
the trend away from the use of public switched telephone network lines and resultant increase in servicing costs associated with alternative methods of communication;
the operating performance of our network, including the potential for service disruptions at both the main monitoring facility and back-up monitoring facility due to acts of nature or technology deficiencies;
the outcome of any pending, threatened, or future litigation, including potential liability for failure to respond adequately to alarm activations;
the ability to continue to obtain insurance coverage sufficient to hedge our risk exposures, including as a result of acts of third parties and/or alleged regulatory violations;
changes in the nature of strategic relationships with original equipment manufacturers, dealers and other Monitronics business partners;
the reliability and creditworthiness of our independent alarm systems dealers and subscribers;
changes in our expected rate of subscriber attrition;
the availability and terms of capital, including the ability of the Company to obtain future financing to grow its business;
our high degree of leverage and the restrictive covenants governing its indebtedness; and
availability of qualified personnel.
 
These forward-looking statements and such risks, uncertainties and other factors speak only as of the date of this Annual Report, and we expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to disseminate any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein, to reflect any change in our expectations with regard thereto, or any other change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based. When considering such forward-looking statements, you should keep in mind the factors described in Item 1A, "Risk Factors" and other cautionary statements contained in this Annual Report. Such risk factors and statements describe circumstances which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement.

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(b)  Financial Information About Reportable Segments
 
We identify our reportable segments based on financial information reviewed by our chief operating decision maker. We report financial information for our consolidated business segments that represent more than 10% of our consolidated revenue or earnings before income taxes. Based on the foregoing criteria, we had two reportable segments as of December 31, 2015, Monitronics and LiveWatch. For more information see below and our financial statements included in Part II of this Annual Report.
 
(c)  Narrative Description of Business
 
Monitronics International Inc., a Texas corporation incorporated on August 31, 1994, is primarily engaged in the business of providing the following security alarm monitoring services: monitoring signals arising from burglaries, fires, medical alerts and other events though security systems at subscribers’ premises, as well as providing customer service and technical support.  Our principal office is located at 1990 Wittington Place, Farmers Branch, Texas, telephone number (972) 243-7443.

We are one of the largest alarm monitoring companies in the United States of America (the "U.S.")., with over one million subscribers under contract. With subscribers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada, we provide a wide range of mainly residential security services including hands-free two-way interactive voice communication with the monitoring center, cellular options, and an interactive service option which allows the customer to control their security system remotely using a computer or smart phone.

Monitronics Operations
 
Unlike many of our national competitors, we outsource the sales, installation and most of our field service functions to our dealers. By outsourcing the low margin, high fixed-cost elements of our business to a large network of independent service providers, we are able to allocate capital to growing our revenue-generating account base rather than to local offices or depreciating hard assets.
 
Revenue is generated primarily from fees charged to customers under alarm monitoring contracts.  The initial contract term is typically three to five years, with automatic renewal on a month-to-month basis.  We generate incremental revenue by providing additional services, such as maintenance and contract monitoring.  Contract monitoring includes fees charged to other security alarm companies for monitoring their accounts on a wholesale basis.  As of December 31, 2015, we provided contract monitoring services for over 93,000 accounts.  These incremental revenue streams do not represent a significant portion of our overall revenue.
 
Our authorized independent dealers are typically small businesses that sell and install alarm systems.  During 2015, we acquired alarm monitoring contracts from more than 520 dealers.  These dealers focus on the sale and installation of security systems and generally do not retain the monitoring contracts for their customers and do not have their own facilities to monitor such systems due to the large upfront investment required to create the account and build a monitoring station.  They also do not have the scale required to operate a monitoring station efficiently.  These dealers typically sell the contracts to third parties and outsource the monitoring function for any accounts they retain. We have the ability to monitor a variety of signals from nearly all types of residential security systems. We generally enter into exclusive contracts with dealers under which the dealers sell and install security systems and we have a right of first refusal to acquire the associated alarm monitoring contracts.  In order to maximize revenues, we seek to attract dealers from throughout the U.S. rather than focusing on specific local or regional markets.  In evaluating the quality of potential participants for the dealer program, we conduct an internal due diligence review and analysis of each dealer using information obtained from third party sources.  This process includes:
 
background checks on the dealer, including lien searches to the extent applicable; and
a review of the dealer’s licensing status and creditworthiness.

Once a dealer is approved and signed as an authorized dealer, the primary steps in creating an account are as follows:
 
1.              Dealer sells an alarm system to a homeowner or small business.
2.              Dealer installs the alarm system, which is monitored by our central monitoring center, trains the customer on its use, and receives a signed three to five year contract for monitoring services.
3.              Dealer presents the account to us for acquisition.
4.              We perform diligence on the alarm monitoring account to validate quality.
5.              We acquire the customer contract at a formula-based cost.
 

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We believe our ability to maximize our return on invested capital is largely dependent on the quality of the accounts acquired. We conduct a review of each account to be acquired through our dealer network.  This process typically includes:
 
subscriber credit score reviews;
telephone surveys to confirm satisfaction with the installation and security systems;
an individual review of each alarm monitoring contract;
confirmation that the customer is a homeowner; and
confirmation that each security system is monitored by our central monitoring station prior to origination.
 
We generally acquire each new customer account at a cost based on a multiple of the account’s monthly recurring revenue. Our dealer contracts generally provide that if a customer account acquired by us is terminated within the first 12 months, the dealer must replace the account or refund the cost paid by us. To secure the dealer’s obligation, we typically hold back a percentage of the cost paid for the account.
 
We believe that this process, which includes both clearly defined customer account standards and a comprehensive due diligence process, contributes significantly to the high quality of our subscriber base. For each of the last five calendar years, the average credit score of accounts acquired by us was 715 or higher on the FICO scale.
 
Approximately 94% of our subscribers are residential homeowners and the remainder are small commercial accounts. We believe that by focusing on residential homeowners, rather than renters, we can reduce attrition, because homeowners relocate less frequently than renters.
 
We provide monitoring services as well as billing and 24-hour telephone support through our central monitoring station, located in Dallas, Texas.  This facility is Underwriters Laboratories ("UL") listed.  To obtain and maintain a UL listing, an alarm monitoring center must be located in a building meeting UL’s structural requirements, have back-up and uninterruptable power supplies, have secure telephone lines and maintain redundant computer systems.  UL conducts periodic reviews of alarm monitoring centers to ensure compliance with their requirements.  Our central monitoring station in Dallas has also received the Central Station Alarm Association’s ("CSAA") prestigious Five Diamond Certification. Less than approximately 5% of recognized North American central monitoring stations have attained Five Diamond Certified status.
 
We have a back-up facility that is capable of supporting monitoring and certain customer service operations in the event of a disruption at our primary customer care center. A third party call center in Mexico provides telephone support for Spanish-speaking subscribers.
 
Our telephone systems utilize high-capacity, high-quality, digital circuits backed up by conventional telephone lines. When an alarm signal is received at the monitoring facility, it is routed to an operator. At the same time, information concerning the subscriber whose alarm has been activated and the nature and location of the alarm signal are delivered to the operator’s computer terminal. The operator is then responsible for following standard procedures to contact the subscriber or take other appropriate action, including, if the situation requires, contacting local emergency service providers.  We never dispatch our own personnel to the subscriber’s premises in response to an alarm event.  If a subscriber lives in an area where the emergency service provider will not respond without verification of an actual emergency, we will contract with an independent third party responder if available in that area.

We seek to increase subscriber satisfaction and retention by carefully managing customer and technical service. The customer service center handles all general inquiries from subscribers, including those related to subscriber information changes, basic alarm troubleshooting, alarm verification, technical service requests and requests to enhance existing services. Our Dallas facility has a proprietary centralized information system that enables us to satisfy over 85% of subscriber technical inquiries over the telephone, without dispatching a service technician. If the customer requires field service, we rely on our nationwide network of independent service dealers and over 70 employee field service technicians to provide such service.  We closely monitor service dealer performance with customer satisfaction forms, follow-up quality assurance calls and other performance metrics.  In 2015, we dispatched over 580 independent service dealers around the country to handle our field service.

LiveWatch Operations

LiveWatch is a leading DIY home security provider offering professionally monitored security services through a direct-to-consumer sales channel. Similar to Monitronics, LiveWatch is an asset-light business and geographically unconstrained. LiveWatch generates subscriber contracts through leads from direct response marketing, where Monitronics generates subscriber contracts from a dealer network with local market presence.


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Services are provided to customers throughout the United States. Revenue is generated primarily from fees charged to customers under alarm monitoring contracts and the sale of the security equipment to facilitate the alarm monitoring service and other home automation or interactive services.  LiveWatch typically offers substantial equipment subsidies to initiate, renew or upgrade alarm monitoring service contracts. The initial contract term is typically one year, with automatic renewal on a month-to-month basis. 

When a customer initiates the process to obtain alarm monitoring services, LiveWatch pre-configures the alarm monitoring system based on customer specifications. LiveWatch then packages and ships the equipment directly to the customer. The customer self installs the equipment on-site and activates the monitoring service over the phone. Technical support for installation is provided via telephone or online assistance via the LiveWatch website.

LiveWatch has call centers in its operations center in St. Marys, Kansas and in a satellite office in Evanston, Illinois to handle sales, monitoring activations, technical support, billing and other general inquiry matters.

Intellectual Property
 
We have a registered service mark for the Monitronics name and a service mark for the Monitronics logo. We own certain proprietary software applications that are used to provide services to our dealers and subscribers. We do not hold any patents or other intellectual property rights on our proprietary software applications.

LiveWatch has a registered service mark for the LiveWatch name and a service mark for the LiveWatch logo.
 
Sales and Marketing
 
General
 
We believe our nationwide network of authorized dealers is the most effective way to market alarm systems.  Locally-based dealers are often an integral part of the communities they serve and understand the local market and how best to satisfy local needs. By combining the dealer’s local presence and reputation with our high quality service and support, we are able to cost-effectively provide local services and take advantage of economies of scale where appropriate.
 
Our dealer network provides for the acquisition of subscriber accounts on an ongoing basis. The dealers install the alarm system and arrange for subscribers to enter into a multi-year alarm monitoring agreement in a form acceptable to us. The dealer then submits this monitoring agreement for our due diligence review.

LiveWatch offers a differentiated go-to-market strategy through direct response TV, internet and radio advertising.
 
Dealer Network Development
 
We remain focused on expanding our network of independent authorized dealers. To do so, we have established a dealer program that provides participating dealers with a variety of support services to assist them as they grow their businesses. Authorized dealers may use the Monitronics brand name in their sales and marketing activities and on the products they sell and install. Our authorized dealers benefit from their affiliation with us and our national reputation for high customer satisfaction, as well as the support they receive from us. We also provide authorized dealers with the opportunity to obtain discounts on alarm systems and other equipment purchased by such dealers from original equipment manufacturers, including alarm systems labeled with the Monitronics logo.  We also make available sales, business and technical training, sales literature, co-branded marketing materials, sales leads and management support to our authorized dealers.  In most cases these services and cost savings would not be available to security alarm dealers on an individual basis.
 
Currently, we employ sales representatives to promote our authorized dealer program, find account acquisition opportunities and sell our monitoring services. We target independent alarm dealers across the U.S. that can benefit from our dealer program services and can generate high quality monitoring customers for us. We use a variety of marketing techniques to promote the dealer program and related services. These activities include direct mail, trade magazine advertising, trade shows, internet web site marketing, publicity and telemarketing. 


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Dealer Marketing Support
 
We offer our authorized dealers an extensive marketing support program. We focus on developing professionally designed sales and marketing materials that will help dealers market alarm systems and monitoring services with maximum effectiveness. Materials offered to authorized dealers include:
 
sales brochures and flyers;
yard signs;
window decals;
customer forms and agreements;
sales presentation binders;
door hangers;
lead boxes;
vehicle graphics;
trade show booths; and
clothing bearing the Monitronics brand name.
 
These materials are made available to dealers at prices that management believes would not be available to dealers on an individual basis.
 
Our sales materials promote both the Monitronics brand and the dealer’s status as an authorized dealer. Dealers often sell and install alarm systems which display the Monitronics logo and telephone number, which further strengthens consumer recognition of their status as our authorized dealers. Management believes that the dealers’ use of the Monitronics brand to promote their affiliation with one of the nation’s largest alarm monitoring companies boosts the dealers’ credibility and reputation in their local markets and also assists in supporting their sales success.
 
Customer Integration and Marketing
 
Our dealers typically introduce customers to us in the home when describing our central monitoring station.  Following the acquisition of a monitoring agreement from a dealer, the customer is notified that Monitronics is responsible for all their monitoring and customer service needs.  The customer’s awareness and identification of the Monitronics brand as the monitoring service provider is further supported by the distribution of branded materials by the dealer to the customer at the point of sale. Such materials may include the promotional items listed above. All materials provided in the dealer model focus on the Monitronics brands and the role of Monitronics as the single source of support for the customer.
 
Negotiated Account Acquisitions
 
In addition to the development of our dealer network, we periodically acquire alarm monitoring accounts from other alarm companies in bulk on a negotiated basis. Management has extensive experience in identifying potential opportunities, negotiating account acquisitions and performing thorough due diligence, which helps facilitate the execution of new acquisitions in a timely manner.

Strategy

Our goal is to maximize return on invested capital, which we believe can be achieved by pursuing the following strategies:
 
Maximize Subscriber Retention
 
We seek to maximize subscriber retention by continuing to acquire high quality accounts and to increase the average life of an account through the following initiatives:
 
maintain the high quality of our subscriber base by continuing to implement our highly disciplined account acquisition program;
continue to incentivize our dealers to obtain only high-quality accounts through quality incentives built into the cost multiples and by having a performance guarantee on substantially all dealer originated accounts;
provide superior customer service on the telephone and in the field; and
actively identify subscribers who are relocating, the number one reason for account cancellations, and target retention of such subscribers.
 

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Maximize Economics of Business Model
 
Due to the scalability of our operations and the low fixed and variable costs inherent in our cost structure, we believe we will continue to experience high Adjusted EBITDA margins as costs are spread over larger recurring revenue streams. In addition, we optimize the rate of return on investment by managing creation costs, or the costs of acquiring an account. Creation costs, whether capitalized or expensed, include the costs to acquire alarm monitoring contracts from our dealers, LiveWatch's equipment costs and certain sales and marketing costs. We believe our cash flows may also benefit from our continued efforts to increase subscriber retention rates and reduce response times, call duration and false alarms.  As used in this annual report, the term "Adjusted EBITDA" means net income before interest expense, interest income, income taxes, depreciation, amortization (including the amortization of subscriber accounts, dealer network and other intangible assets), restructuring charges, stock-based compensation, and other non-cash or non-recurring charges, and "Adjusted EBITDA margin" means Adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of net revenue. For further discussion of Adjusted EBITDA, see Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

Expand Our Network of Dealers
 
Our plan is to continue to manage account acquisitions through our dealer network by targeting dealers that can benefit from our dealer program services and that can generate high quality subscribers while focusing on creation costs. We believe we are an attractive partner for dealers for the following reasons:
 
we provide dealers with a full range of services designed to assist them in all aspects of their business, including sales leads, sales training, technical training, comprehensive on-line account access, detailed weekly account summaries, sales support materials and discounts on security system hardware purchased through our strategic alliances with security system manufacturers;
individual dealers retain local name recognition and responsibility for day-to-day sales and installation efforts, thereby supporting the entrepreneurial culture at the dealer level and allowing us to capitalize on the considerable local market knowledge, goodwill and name recognition of our dealers; and
we reliably offer competitive rates for account acquisition.

For a description of the risks associated with the foregoing strategies, and with the Company’s business in general, see "ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS."
 
Industry; Competition
 
The security alarm industry is highly competitive and fragmented, and as of February 29, 2016, competitors include four other major firms with nationwide coverage and numerous smaller providers with regional or local coverage.  The four other security alarm companies with coverage across the U.S. are as follows:
 
The ADT Corporation ("ADT");
Vivint, Inc., a subsidiary of APX Group Holdings, Inc.;
Protection One, Inc., a subsidiary of Apollo Global Management, Inc. ("AGM"); and
Stanley Security Solutions, a subsidiary of Stanley Black and Decker.

On February 16, 2016, ADT announced that it would be acquired by certain funds managed by affiliates of AGM and then merged with AGM's subsidiary, Protection One, Inc. ADT and AGM expect that the transaction will be completed by June 2016. The security alarm industry has remained highly competitive and has not experienced any material change to market concentration.  Competition in the security alarm industry is based primarily on reputation for quality of service, market visibility, services offered, price and the ability to identify subscriber accounts. Competition for subscribers has increased in recent years from cable and telecommunication providers expanding their service offerings into the security alarm industry, as well as the emergence of DIY home security providers. There are also threats of potential new entrants into the alarm monitoring space from technology companies that may offer professional alarm monitoring or self monitored solutions. We believe we compete effectively with other national, regional and local alarm monitoring companies, including cable and telecommunications companies, due to our reputation for reliable monitoring, customer and technical services, the quality of services, and our low cost structure.  The dynamics of the security alarm industry often favor larger alarm monitoring companies with a nationwide focus that have greater capital and benefit from economies of scale in technology, advertising and other expenditures.
 
Some of these larger alarm monitoring companies have also adopted, in whole or in part, a dealer program similar to ours.  In these instances, we must also compete with these programs in recruiting dealers.  We believe we compete effectively with other

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dealer programs due to the quality of our dealer support services and our competitive acquisition terms.  The significant other dealer programs that we also compete with are as follows:

ADT
Central Security Group, Inc.
Guardian Protection Services, Inc.

Of all of our competitors for both subscribers and dealers, ADT is significantly larger and has more capital.
 
Seasonality
 
Our operations are subject to a certain level of seasonality.  Since more household moves take place during the second and third calendar quarters of each year, our disconnect rate and expenses related to retaining customers are typically higher in those calendar quarters than in the first and fourth quarters.  There is also a slight seasonal effect resulting in higher new customer volume and related cash expenditures incurred in investment in new subscribers in the second and third quarters.
 
Regulatory Matters
 
Our operations are subject to a variety of laws, regulations and licensing requirements of federal, state and local authorities including federal and state customer protection laws. In certain jurisdictions, we are required to obtain licenses or permits to comply with standards governing employee selection and training and to meet certain standards in the conduct of our business.  The security industry is also subject to requirements imposed by various insurance, approval, listing and standards organizations. Depending upon the type of subscriber served, the type of security service provided and the requirements of the applicable local governmental jurisdiction, adherence to the requirements and standards of such organizations is mandatory in some instances and voluntary in others.

Although local governments routinely respond to panic and smoke/fire alarms, there are an increasing number of local governmental authorities that have adopted or are considering various measures aimed at reducing the number of false burglar alarms. Such measures include:
 
subjecting alarm monitoring companies to fines or penalties for false alarms;
imposing fines on alarm subscribers for false alarms;
imposing limitations on the number of times the police will respond to false alarms at a particular location;
requiring additional verification of intrusion alarms by calling two different phone numbers prior to dispatch ("Enhanced Call Verification"); and
requiring visual verification of an actual emergency at the premise before the police will respond to an alarm signal.
 
Enhanced Call Verification has been implemented as standard policy by Monitronics.
 
Security alarm systems monitored by us utilize telephone lines, internet connections, cellular networks and radio frequencies to transmit alarm signals. The cost of telephone lines, and the type of equipment which may be used in telephone line transmission, are currently regulated by both federal and state governments. The operation and utilization of cellular and radio frequencies are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission and state public utility commissions.
 
For additional information on the regulatory framework in which we operate, please see "ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS--Factprs Relating to Regulatory Matters."
 
Employees
 
At December 31, 2015, we had over 1,500 full-time employees, all of which are located in the U.S.
 
(d)   Financial Information About Geographic Areas
 
We perform monitoring services for subscribers located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
 

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(e)   Available Information
 
All of our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including our Form 10-Ks, Form 10-Qs and Form 8-Ks, as well as amendments to such filings are available on our Internet website free of charge generally within 24 hours after we file such material with the SEC. Our website address is www.monitronics.com.

The information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference herein.


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ITEM 1A.  RISK FACTORS
 
In addition to the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, you should consider the following risk factors in evaluating our results of operations, financial condition, business and operations or an investment in our stock.
 
Although we describe below and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K the risks we consider to be the most material, there may be other unknown or unpredictable economic, business, competitive, regulatory or other factors that also could have material adverse effects on our results of operations, financial condition, business or operations in the future. In addition, past financial performance may not be a reliable indicator of future performance and historical trends should not be used to anticipate results or trends in future periods.
 
If any of the events described below, individually or in combination, were to occur, our businesses, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and/or cash flows could be materially adversely affected.

Factors Relating to Our Business
 
We face risks in acquiring and integrating new subscribers.

The acquisition of alarm monitoring contracts involves a number of risks, including the risk that the alarm monitoring contracts acquired may not be profitable due to higher than expected account attrition, lower than expected revenues from the alarm monitoring contracts or, when applicable, lower than expected recoveries from dealers. The cost incurred to acquire alarm monitoring contract is affected by the monthly recurring revenue generated by the alarm monitoring contract, as well as several other factors, including the level of competition, prior experience with alarm monitoring contracts acquired from the dealer, the number of alarm monitoring contracts acquired, the subscriber’s credit score and the type of security equipment used by the subscriber. To the extent that the servicing costs or the attrition rates are higher than expected or the revenues from the alarm monitoring contracts or, when applicable, the recoveries from dealers are lower than expected, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.
 
Our customer generation strategies and the competitive market for customer accounts may affect our future profitability.
 
A significant element of our business strategy is the generation of new customer accounts through our dealer network, excluding accounts acquired in the LiveWatch Acquisition, which accounted for substantially all of our new customer accounts for the year ended December 31, 2015. Our future operating results will depend in large part on our ability to manage our generation strategies effectively. Although we currently generate accounts through hundreds of authorized dealers, a significant portion of our accounts originate from a smaller number of dealers. We experience loss of dealers from our dealer network due to various factors, such as dealers becoming inactive or discontinuing their alarm monitoring business and competition from other alarm monitoring companies. If we experience a loss of dealers representing a significant portion of its account generation engine or if we are unable to replace or recruit dealers in accordance with our business plans, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
 
We are subject to credit risk and other risks associated with our subscribers.
 
Substantially all of our revenues are derived from the recurring monthly revenue due from subscribers under the alarm monitoring contracts. Therefore, we are dependent on the ability and willingness of subscribers to pay amounts due under the alarm monitoring contracts on a monthly basis in a timely manner. Although subscribers are contractually obligated to pay amounts due under an alarm monitoring contract and are generally prohibited from canceling the alarm monitoring contract for the initial term of the alarm monitoring contract (typically between three and five years), subscribers’ payment obligations are unsecured, which could impair our ability to collect any unpaid amounts from our subscribers. To the extent payment defaults by subscribers under the alarm monitoring contracts are greater than anticipated, our business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
 
We rely on a significant number of our subscribers remaining with us for an extended period of time.
 
We incur significant upfront costs for each new subscriber. We require a substantial amount of time, typically exceeding the initial term of the related alarm monitoring contract, to receive cash payments (net of variable cash operating costs) from a particular subscriber that are sufficient to offset this upfront cost. Accordingly, our long-term performance is dependent on our subscribers remaining with us for as long as possible. This requires us to minimize our rate of subscriber cancellations, or attrition. Factors that can increase cancellations include subscribers who relocate and do not reconnect, prolonged downturns in

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the housing market, problems with service quality, competition from other alarm monitoring companies, equipment obsolescence, adverse economic conditions, conversion of wireless spectrums and the affordability of our service. If we fail to keep our subscribers for a sufficiently long period of time, attrition rates would be higher than expected and our financial position and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, we may experience higher attrition rates with respect to subscribers acquired in bulk buys than subscribers acquired pursuant to our authorized dealer program.

We are subject to credit risk and other risks associated with our dealers.
 
Under the standard alarm monitoring contract acquisition agreements that we enter into with our dealers, if a subscriber terminates their service with us during the first twelve months after the alarm monitoring contract has been acquired, the dealer is typically required to elect between substituting another alarm monitoring contract for the terminating alarm monitoring contract or compensating us in an amount based on the original acquisition cost of the terminating alarm monitoring contract. We are subject to the risk that dealers will breach their obligation to provide a comparable substitute alarm monitoring contract for a terminating alarm monitoring contract. Although we withhold specified amounts from the acquisition cost paid to dealers for alarm monitoring contracts ("holdback"), which may be used to satisfy or offset these and other applicable dealer obligations under the alarm monitoring contract acquisition agreements, there can be no guarantee that these amounts will be sufficient to satisfy or offset the full extent of the default by a dealer of our obligations under our agreement. If the holdback does prove insufficient to cover dealer obligations, we are also subject to the credit risk that the dealers may not have sufficient funds to compensate us or that any such dealer will otherwise breach its obligation to compensate us for a terminating alarm monitoring contract. To the extent defaults by dealers of the obligations under their agreements are greater than anticipated, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, a significant portion of our accounts originate from a smaller number of dealers. If any of these dealers discontinue their alarm monitoring business or cease operations altogether as a result of business conditions or due to increasingly burdensome regulatory compliance, the dealer may breach its obligations under the applicable alarm monitoring contract acquisition agreement and, to the extent such dealer has originated a significant portion of our accounts, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected to a greater degree than if the dealer had originated a smaller number of accounts.
 
The alarm monitoring business is subject to macroeconomic factors that may negatively impact our results of operations, including prolonged downturns in the economy.
 
The alarm monitoring business is dependent in part on national, regional and local economic conditions. In particular, where disposable income available for discretionary spending is reduced (such as by higher housing, energy, interest or other costs or where the actual or perceived wealth of customers has decreased because of circumstances such as lower residential real estate values, increased foreclosure rates, inflation, increased tax rates or other economic disruptions), the alarm monitoring business could experience increased attrition rates and reduced consumer demand. In periods of economic downturn, no assurance can be given that it will be able to continue acquiring quality alarm monitoring contracts or that it will not experience higher attrition rates. In addition, any deterioration in new construction and sales of existing single family homes could reduce opportunities to grow our subscriber accounts from the sales of new security systems and services and the take-over of existing security systems that had previously been monitored by our competitors. If there are prolonged durations of general economic downturn, our results of operations and subscriber account growth could be materially and adversely affected.
 
Adverse economic conditions in states where our subscribers are more heavily concentrated may negatively impact our results of operations.
 
Even as economic conditions may improve in the United States as a whole, this improvement may not occur or further deterioration may occur in the regions where Monitronics’ subscribers are more heavily concentrated (such as Texas, California, Florida and Arizona). Although we have a geographically diverse subscriber base, adverse conditions in one or more states where our business is more heavily concentrated could have a significant adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
If the insurance industry were to change its practice of providing incentives to homeowners for the use of alarm monitoring services, we may experience a reduction in new customer growth or an increase in our subscriber attrition rate.
 
It has been common practice in the insurance industry to provide a reduction in rates for policies written on homes that have monitored alarm systems. There can be no assurance that insurance companies will continue to offer these rate reductions. If these incentives were reduced or eliminated, new homeowners who otherwise may not feel the need for alarm monitoring services would be removed from our potential customer pool, which could hinder the growth of our business, and existing subscribers may choose to disconnect or not renew their service contracts, which could increase our attrition rates. In either case, our results of operations and growth prospects could be adversely affected.

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Risks of liability from our business and operations may be significant.
 
The nature of the services we provide potentially exposes us to greater risks of liability for employee acts or omissions or system failures than may be inherent in other businesses. If subscribers believe that they incurred losses as a result of an action or failure to act by us, the subscribers (or their insurers) could bring claims against us, and we have been subject to lawsuits of this type from time to time. Similarly, if dealers believe that they incurred losses or were denied rights under the alarm monitoring contract acquisition agreements as a result of an action or failure to act by us, the dealers could bring claims against us. Although substantially all of our alarm monitoring contracts and contract acquisition agreements contain provisions limiting our liability to subscribers and dealers, respectively, in an attempt to reduce this risk, the alarm monitoring contracts or a contract acquisition agreement that do not contain such provisions expose us to risks of liability that could materially and adversely affect our business. Moreover, even when such provisions are included in an alarm monitoring contract or alarm monitoring contract acquisition agreement, in the event of any such litigation, no assurance can be given that these limitations will be enforced, and the costs of such litigation or the related settlements or judgments could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition. In addition, there can be no assurance that we are adequately insured for these risks. Certain of our insurance policies and the laws of some states may limit or prohibit insurance coverage for punitive or certain other types of damages or liability arising from gross negligence. If significant uninsured damages are assessed against us, the resulting liability could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
 
Future litigation could result in adverse publicity for us.
 
In the ordinary course of business, from time to time, the Company and our subsidiaries are the subject of complaints or litigation from subscribers or inquiries from government officials, sometimes related to alleged violations of state or federal consumer protection statutes (including by its dealers), violations of "false alarm" ordinances or other regulations, negligent dealer installation or negligent service of alarm monitoring systems. We may also be subject to employee claims based on, among other things, alleged discrimination, harassment or wrongful termination claims. In addition to diverting management resources, adverse publicity resulting from such allegations may materially and adversely affect our reputation in the communities we service, regardless of whether such allegations are unfounded. Such adverse publicity could result in higher attrition rates and greater difficulty in attracting new subscribers on terms that are attractive to the Company or at all.
 
An inability to provide the contracted monitoring service could adversely affect our business.
 
A disruption to the main monitoring facility, the back-up monitoring facility and/or third party monitoring facility could affect our ability to provide alarm monitoring services to our subscribers. Our main monitoring facility holds UL listings as a protective signaling services station and maintains certain standards of building integrity, redundant computer and communications facilities and backup power, among other safeguards. However, no assurance can be given that our main monitoring facility will not be disrupted by a technical failure, including communication or hardware failures, catastrophic event or natural disaster, fire, weather, malicious acts or terrorism. Furthermore, no assurance can be given that our back-up or third party monitoring center will not be disrupted by the same or a simultaneous event or that it will be able to perform effectively in the event its main monitoring center is disrupted. Any such disruption, particularly one of a prolonged duration, could have a material adverse effect on our business.
 
We rely on third parties to transmit signals to our monitoring facilities and provide other services to our subscribers.
 
We rely on various third party telecommunications providers and signal processing centers to transmit and communicate signals to our monitoring facilities in a timely and consistent manner. These telecommunications providers and signal processing centers could fail to transmit or communicate these signals to the monitoring facility for many reasons, including due to disruptions from fire, natural disasters, weather, transmission interruption, malicious acts or terrorism. The failure of one or more of these telecommunications providers or signal processing centers to transmit and communicate signals to the monitoring facility in a timely manner could affect our ability to provide alarm monitoring, home automation and interactive services to our subscribers. We also rely on third party technology companies to provide home automation and interactive services to our subscribers. These technology companies could fail to provide these services consistently, or at all, which could result in our inability to meet customer demand and damage our reputation. There can be no assurance that third-party telecommunications providers, signal processing centers and other technology companies will continue to transmit, communicate signals to the monitoring facilities or provide home automation and interactive services to subscribers without disruption. Any such disruption, particularly one of a prolonged duration, could have a material adverse effect on our business. See also “Shifts in customer choice of, or telecommunications providers’ support for, telecommunications services and equipment could adversely impact our business and require significant capital expenditures” below with respect to risks associated with changes in signal transmissions.

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The alarm monitoring business is subject to technological innovation over time.
 
Our monitoring services depend upon the technology (both hardware and software) of security alarm systems located at subscribers’ premises. We may be required to implement new technology both to attract and retain subscribers or in response to changes in land-line or cellular technology or other factors, which could require significant expenditures. In addition, the availability of any new features developed for use in our industry (whether developed by us or otherwise) can have a significant impact on a subscriber’s initial decision to choose us or our competitor’s products and a subscriber’s decision to renew with us or switch to one of our competitors. To the extent our competitors have greater capital and other resources to dedicate to responding to technological innovation over time, the products and services offered by us may become less attractive to current or future subscribers thereby reducing demand for such products and services and increasing attrition over time. Those competitors that benefit from more capital being available to them may be at a particular advantage to us in this respect. If we are unable to adapt in response to changing technologies, market conditions or customer requirements in a timely manner, such inability could adversely affect our business by increasing our rate of subscriber attrition. We also face potential competition from improvements in self-monitoring systems, which enable current or future subscribers to monitor their home environments without third-party involvement, which could further increase attrition rates over time and hinder the acquisition of new alarm monitoring contracts.

The high level of competition in our industry could adversely affect its business.
 
The security alarm monitoring industry is highly competitive and fragmented. As of December 31, 2015, we were one of the largest alarm monitoring companies in the U.S. when measured by the total number of subscribers under contract. We face competition from other alarm monitoring companies, including companies that have more capital and that may offer higher prices and more favorable terms to dealers for alarm monitoring contracts or charge lower prices to customers for monitoring services. In addition, two of our larger competitors, ADT and Protection One, Inc., may be combined into a single company in a transaction expected to be completed by June 2016. We also face competition from a significant number of small regional competitors that concentrate their capital and other resources in targeting local markets and forming new marketing channels that may displace the existing alarm system dealer channels for acquiring alarm monitoring contracts. Further, we are facing increasing competition from telecommunications and cable companies who are expanding into alarm monitoring services and bundling their existing offerings with monitored security services. The existing access to and relationship with subscribers that these companies have could give them a substantial advantage over us, especially if they are able to offer subscribers a lower price by bundling these services. Any of these forms of competition could reduce the acquisition opportunities available to us, thus slowing our rate of growth, or requiring us to increase the price paid for subscriber accounts, thus reducing our return on investment and negatively impacting our revenues and results of operations.

Shifts in customer choice of, or telecommunications providers’ support for, telecommunications services and equipment could adversely impact our business and require significant capital expenditures.
 
Substantially all of our subscriber alarm systems use either a traditional land-line or cellular service to communicate alarm signals from the subscribers’ locations to our monitoring facilities. There is a growing trend for consumers to give up their land-line and exclusively use cellular and IP communication technology in their homes and businesses. In addition, some telecommunications providers may discontinue land-line services in the future and cellular carriers may choose to discontinue certain cellular networks. One of the nation's largest cellular carriers has announced that it does not intend to support its 2G cellular network services beyond 2016 and expects to terminate service carried on this network. As land-line and cellular network service is discontinued or disconnected, subscribers with alarm systems that communicate over these networks may need to have certain equipment in their security system replaced to maintain their monitoring service. The process of changing out this equipment will require us to subsidize the replacement of subscribers’ outdated equipment and is likely to cause an increase in subscriber attrition. During 2014, we implemented a program (the "Radio Conversion Program") to upgrade subscribers' alarm monitoring systems that communicate across the 2G network we expect to be discontinued.  In connection with the Radio Conversion Program, we incurred costs of $14,369,000 in 2015 and $1,113,000 in 2014 and could incur incremental costs of $17,000,000 to $21,000,000 in 2016. We are working with the cellular carriers and other 2G network user groups to pursue strategies which could reduce these costs, but there is no assurance any of these efforts will be successful. In addition to the conversion costs, this process may divert management’s attention and other important resources away from customer service and sales efforts.

In the future, we may not be able to successfully implement new technologies or adapt existing technologies to changing market demands in the future. If we are unable to adapt timely to changing technologies, market conditions or customer preferences, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected.
 

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Privacy concerns, such as consumer identity theft and security breaches, could hurt our reputation and revenues.
 
As part of our operations, we collect a large amount of private information from our subscribers, including social security numbers, credit card information, images and voice recordings. If we were to experience a breach of our data security, it may put private information of our subscribers at risk of exposure. To the extent that any such exposure leads to credit card fraud or identity theft, we may experience a general decline in consumer confidence in our business, which may lead to an increase in attrition rates or may make it more difficult to attract new subscribers. If consumers become reluctant to use our services because of concerns over data privacy or credit card fraud, our ability to generate revenues would be impaired. In addition, if technology upgrades or other expenditures are required to prevent security breaches of our network, boost general consumer confidence in our business, or prevent credit card fraud and identity theft, we may be required to make unplanned capital expenditures or expend other resources. Any such loss of confidence in our business or additional capital expenditure requirement could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our reputation as a service provider of high quality security offerings may be adversely affected by product defects or shortfalls in customer service.
 
Our business depends on our reputation and ability to maintain good relationships with our subscribers, dealers and local regulators, among others. Our reputation may be harmed either through product defects, such as the failure of one or more of our subscribers’ alarm systems, or shortfalls in customer service. Subscribers generally judge our performance through their interactions with the staff at the monitoring and customer care centers, dealers and technicians who perform on-site maintenance services. Any failure to meet subscribers’ expectations in such customer service areas could cause an increase in attrition rates or make it difficult to recruit new subscribers. Any harm to our reputation or subscriber relationships caused by the actions of our dealers, personnel or third party service providers or any other factors could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
A loss of experienced employees could adversely affect us.
 
The success of the Company has been largely dependent upon the active participation of our officers and employees. The loss of the services of key members of our management for any reason may have a material adverse effect on our operations and the ability to maintain and grow our business. We depend on the managerial skills and expertise of our management and employees to provide customer service by, among other things, monitoring and responding to alarm signals, coordinating equipment repairs, administering billing and collections under the alarm monitoring contracts and administering and providing dealer services under the contract acquisition agreements. There is no assurance that we will be able to retain our current management and other experienced employees or replace them satisfactorily to the extent they leave our employ. The loss of our experienced employees’ services and expertise could materially and adversely affect our business.

Our acquisition strategy may not be successful.
 
One focus of our strategy is to seek opportunities to grow free cash flow through strategic acquisitions, which may include leveraged acquisitions. However, there can be no assurance that we will be able to consummate that strategy, and if we are not able to invest its capital in acquisitions that are accretive to free cash flow it could negatively impact its growth. Our ability to consummate such acquisitions may be negatively impacted by various factors, including among other things:
 
failure to identify attractive acquisition candidates on acceptable terms;
competition from other bidders;
inability to raise any required financing; and
antitrust or other regulatory restrictions, including any requirements that may be imposed by government agencies as a condition to any required regulatory approval.
 
If we engage in any acquisition, we will incur a variety of costs, and may never realize the anticipated benefits of the acquisition. If we undertake any acquisition, the process of operating such acquired business may result in unforeseen operating difficulties and expenditures, including the assumption of the liabilities and exposure to unforeseen liabilities of such acquired business and the possibility of litigation or other claims in connection with, or as a result of, such an acquisition, including claims from terminated employees, customers, former stockholders or other third parties. Moreover, we may fail to realize the anticipated benefits of any acquisition as rapidly as expected or at all, and we may experience increased attrition in our subscriber base and/or a loss of dealer relationships and difficulties integrating acquired businesses, technologies and personnel into our business or achieving anticipated operations efficiencies or cost savings. Future acquisitions could cause us to incur debt and expose us to liabilities. Further, we may incur significant expenditures and devote substantial management time and attention in anticipation of an acquisition that is never realized. Lastly, while we intend to implement appropriate controls and

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procedures as we integrate any acquired companies, we may not be able to certify as to the effectiveness of these companies’ disclosure controls and procedures or internal control over financial reporting within the time periods required by U.S. federal securities laws and regulations.
 
We may be unable to obtain future financing on terms acceptable to us or at all, which may hinder our ability to grow our business.

We intend to continue to pursue growth through the acquisition of subscriber accounts through our authorized dealer network and our direct to consumer channel in LiveWatch, among other means. To continue our growth strategy, we intend to make additional drawdowns under the revolving credit portion of its Credit Facility and may seek financing through new credit arrangements or the possible sale of new securities, any of which may lead to higher leverage or result in higher borrowing costs. In addition, any future downgrade in our credit rating could also result in higher borrowing costs. An inability to obtain funding through external financing sources on favorable terms or at all is likely to adversely affect our ability to continue or accelerate our subscriber account acquisition activities.

We may pursue business opportunities that diverge from its current business model, which may cause its business to suffer.
 
We may pursue business opportunities that diverge from our current business model, including expanding our products or service offerings, investing in new and unproven technologies, adding customer acquisition channels (including, for example, increased direct marketing efforts) and forming new alliances with companies to market our services. We can offer no assurance that any such business opportunities will prove to be successful. Among other negative effects, our pursuit of such business opportunities could cause our cost of investment in new customers to grow at a faster rate than our recurring revenue. Additionally, any new alliances or customer acquisition channels could have higher cost structures than our current arrangements, which could reduce operating margins and require more working capital. In the event that working capital requirements exceed operating cash flow, we might be required to draw on our Credit Facility or pursue other external financing, which may not be readily available. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
 
Third party claims with respect to our intellectual property, if decided against us, may result in competing uses of our intellectual property or require the adoption of new, non-infringing intellectual property.
 
We have received and may continue to receive notices claiming we committed intellectual property infringement, misappropriation or other intellectual property violations and third parties have claimed, and may, in the future, claim that we do not own or have rights to use all intellectual property rights used in the conduct of our business. While we do not believe that any of the currently outstanding claims are material, there can be no assurance that third parties will not assert future infringement claims against us or claim that our rights to our intellectual property are invalid or unenforceable, and we cannot guarantee that these claims will be unsuccessful. Any claims involving rights to use the "Monitronics" mark or the "LiveWatch" mark could have a material adverse effect on our business if such claims were decided against us and we were precluded from using or licensing the “Monitronics” mark or the "LiveWatch" mark or others were allowed to use such mark. If we were required to adopt a new name, it would entail marketing costs in connection with building up recognition and goodwill in such new name. In the event that we were enjoined from using any of our other intellectual property, there would be costs associated with the replacement of such intellectual property with developed, acquired or licensed intellectual property. There would also be costs associated with the defense and settlement of any infringement or misappropriation allegations and any damages that may be awarded.

Factors Relating to Our Indebtedness

We have a substantial amount of indebtedness and the costs of servicing that debt may materially affect our business.
 
We have a significant amount of indebtedness. As of December 31, 2015, we have principal indebtedness of $1,667,909, related to terms loans and a revolving credit facility both under its senior secured credit agreement (together referred to as the "Credit Facility"), and $585,000,000 of 9.125% senior notes (the "Senior Notes"). At December 31, 2015, we also had outstanding 9.868% promissory note of $100,000,000 due to the Ascent Capital, of which $88,000,000 has since been contributed to our stated capital and the remaining $12,000,000 of which is currently outstanding and subject to an amended and restated promissory note that is subject to an interest rate of 12.5%. That substantial indebtedness, combined with our other financial obligations and contractual commitments, could have important consequences to us.  For example, it could:
 

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make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our existing and future indebtedness, and any failure to comply with the obligations under any of the agreements governing our indebtedness could result in an event of default under such agreements;
require us to dedicate a substantial portion of any cash flow from operations to the payment of interest and principal due under our indebtedness, which will reduce funds available to fund future subscriber account acquisitions, working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate requirements;
increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;
limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the markets in which we operate;
limit our ability to obtain additional financing required to fund future subscriber account acquisitions, working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate requirements;
expose us to market fluctuations in interest rates;
place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to some of our competitors that are less leveraged;
reduce or delay investments and capital expenditures; and
cause any refinancing of our indebtedness to be at higher interest rates and require us to comply with more onerous covenants, which could further restrict our business operations.
 
The agreements governing our various debt obligations, including our Credit Facility and the indenture governing the Senior Notes, impose restrictions on our business and the business of our subsidiaries and such restrictions could adversely affect our ability to undertake certain corporate actions.
 
The agreements governing our indebtedness restrict our ability to, among other things:
 
incur additional indebtedness;
make certain dividends or distributions with respect to any of our capital stock;
make certain loans and investments;
create liens;
enter into transactions with affiliates, including our parent company, Ascent Capital;
restrict subsidiary distributions;
dissolve, merge or consolidate;
annual limits on the amount of capital expenditures;
transfer, sell or dispose of assets;
enter into or acquire certain types of alarm monitoring contracts;
enter into certain transactions with affiliates;
make certain amendments to our organizational documents;
make changes in the nature of our business;
enter into certain burdensome agreements;
make accounting changes;
use proceeds of loans to purchase or carry margin stock; and
allow the suspension of alarm licenses.
 
In addition, we also must comply with certain financial covenants under the Credit Facility that require us to maintain a consolidated total leverage ratio (as defined in the Credit Facility) of not more than 5.00 to 1.00, a consolidated senior secured leverage ratio (as defined in the Credit Facility) of not more than 3.25 to 1.00, a consolidated interest coverage ratio (as defined in the Credit Facility) of not less than 2.00 to 1.00, each of which is calculated quarterly on a trailing twelve-month basis. In addition, the revolving portion of the Credit Facility requires us to maintain a consolidated senior secured RMR leverage ratio (as defined in the Credit Facility) of no more than 28.0 to 1.00, calculated quarterly, and an attrition rate (as defined in the Credit Facility) of no more than 15.0%, calculated quarterly on a trailing twelve-month basis. If we cannot comply with any of these financial covenants, or if we or any of our subsidiaries fails to comply with the restrictions contained in the Credit Facility, such failure could lead to an event of default and we may not be able to make additional drawdowns under the revolving portion of the Credit Facility, which would limit our ability to manage our working capital requirements. In addition, failure to comply with the financial covenants or restrictions contained in the Credit Facility could lead to an event of default, which could result in the acceleration of a substantial amount of Monitronics’ indebtedness.

We have a history of losses and may incur losses in the future.
 
We have incurred losses in our three most recently completed fiscal years.  In future periods, we may not be able to achieve or sustain profitability on a consistent quarterly or annual basis.  Failure to maintain profitability in future periods may materially and adversely affect our ability to make payments on our outstanding debt obligations.


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Factors Relating to Regulatory Matters
 
“False Alarm” ordinances could adversely affect our business and operations.
 
Significant concern has arisen in certain municipalities about the high incidence of false alarms. In some localities, this concern has resulted in local ordinances or policies that restrict police response to third-party monitored burglar alarms. In addition, an increasing number of local governmental authorities have considered or adopted various measures aimed at reducing the number of false alarms, including:
 
subjecting alarm monitoring companies to fines or penalties for transmitting false alarms;
imposing fines on alarm monitoring services customers for false alarms;
imposing limitations on the number of times the police will respond to alarms at a particular location; and
requiring further verification of an alarm signal, such as visual verification or verification to two different phone numbers, before the police will respond.

Enactment of these measures could adversely affect our future operations and business. For example, numerous cities or metropolitan areas have implemented verified response ordinances or policies for residential and commercial burglar alarms. A verified response policy means that police officers generally do not respond to an alarm until someone else (e.g., the resident, a neighbor or a security guard) first verifies that it is valid. Some alarm monitoring companies operating in these areas hire security guards or use third-party guard firms to verify an alarm. If we need to hire security guards or use third-party guard firms, it could have a material adverse effect on our business through either increased servicing costs, which could negatively affect the ability to properly fund our ongoing operations, or increased costs to our customers, which may limit our ability to attract new customers or increase our subscriber attrition rates. In addition, the perception that police departments will not respond to third-party monitored burglar alarms, may reduce customer satisfaction with traditional monitored alarm systems, which may also result in increased attrition rates or decreased customer demand. Although we have less than 50,000 subscribers in areas covered by these ordinances or policies, a more widespread adoption of such a policy or similar policies in other cities or municipalities could materially and adversely affect our business.

Our business operates in a regulated industry.
 
Our business, operations and dealers are subject to various U.S. federal, state and local consumer protection laws, licensing regulation and other laws and regulations, and, to a lesser extent, similar Canadian laws and regulations. While there are no U.S. federal laws that directly regulate the security alarm monitoring industry, our advertising and sales practices and that of our dealer network are subject to regulation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (the "FTC") in addition to state consumer protection laws. The FTC and the Federal Communications Commission have issued regulations that place restrictions on, among other things, unsolicited automated telephone calls to residential and wireless telephone subscribers by means of automatic telephone dialing systems and the use of prerecorded or artificial voice messages. If the Company (through its direct marketing efforts) or our dealers were to take actions in violation of these regulations, such as telemarketing to individuals on the “Do Not Call” registry, we could be subject to fines, penalties, private actions or enforcement actions by government regulators. We have been named, and may be named in the future, as a defendant in litigation arising from alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the "TCPA"). While we endeavor to comply with the TCPA, no assurance can be given that we will not be exposed to liability as a result of our or our dealers direct marketing efforts. In addition, although we have taken steps to insulate our company from any such wrongful conduct by our dealers to comply with these laws and regulations, no assurance can be given that we will not be exposed to liability as result of our dealers’ conduct. If the Company or any such dealers do not comply with applicable laws, we may be exposed to increased liability and penalties. Further, to the extent that any changes in law or regulation further restrict the lead generation activity of the Company or our dealers, these restrictions could result in a material reduction in subscriber acquisition opportunities, reducing the growth prospects of our business and adversely affecting its financial condition and future cash flows. In addition, most states in which we operate have licensing laws directed specifically toward the monitored security services industry. Our business relies heavily upon wireline and cellular telephone service to communicate signals. Wireline and cellular telephone companies are currently regulated by both federal and state governments. Changes in laws or regulations could require us to change the way we operate, which could increase costs or otherwise disrupt operations. In addition, failure to comply with any such applicable laws or regulations could result in substantial fines or revocation of our operating permits and licenses, including in geographic areas where our services have substantial penetration, which could adversely affect our business and financial condition. Further, if these laws and regulations were to change or we failed to comply with such laws and regulations as they exist today or in the future, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
 

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Increased adoption of statutes and governmental policies purporting to void automatic renewal provisions in the alarm monitoring contracts, or purporting to characterize certain charges in the alarm monitoring contracts as unlawful, could adversely affect our business and operations.
 
The alarm monitoring contracts typically contain provisions automatically renewing the term of the contract at the end of the initial term, unless a cancellation notice is delivered in accordance with the terms of the contract. If the customer cancels prior to the end of the contract term, other than in accordance with the contract, we may charge the customer an early cancellation fee as specified in the contract, which typically allows us to charge 80% of the amounts that would have been paid over the remaining term of the contract. Several states have adopted, or are considering the adoption of, consumer protection policies or legal precedents which purport to void or substantially limit the automatic renewal provisions of contracts such as the alarm monitoring contracts, or otherwise restrict the charges that can be imposed upon contract cancellation. Such initiatives could negatively impact our business. Adverse judicial determinations regarding these matters could increase legal exposure to customers against whom such charges have been imposed, and the risk that certain customers may seek to recover such charges through litigation. In addition, the costs of defending such litigation and enforcement actions could have an adverse effect on our business and operations.

Factors Related to Our Structure and Our Parent’s Corporate History

Goodwill and other identifiable intangible assets represent a significant portion of our total assets, and we may never realize the full value of our intangible assets.

As of December 31, 2015, we had goodwill of $563,549,000, which represents approximately 27.2% of total assets. Goodwill was recorded in connection with the Monitronics, Security Networks, and LiveWatch acquisitions. The Company accounts for its goodwill pursuant to the provisions of FASB ASC Topic 350, Intangibles-Goodwill and Other ("FASB ASC Topic 350"). In accordance with FASB ASC Topic 350, goodwill is tested for impairment annually or when events or changes in circumstances occur that would, more likely than not, reduce the fair value of an asset below its carrying value, resulting in an impairment. Impairments may result from, among other things, deterioration in financial and operational performance, declines in Ascent Capital's stock price, increased attrition, adverse market conditions, adverse changes in applicable laws and/or regulations, deterioration of general macroeconomic conditions, fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, increased competitive markets in which we operate in, declining financial performance over a sustained period, changes in key personnel and/or strategy, and a variety of other factors.

The amount of any quantified impairment must be expensed immediately as a charge to results of operations. Any impairment charge relating to goodwill or other intangible assets would have the effect of decreasing our earnings or increasing our losses in such period. At least annually, or as circumstances arise that may trigger an assessment, we will test our goodwill for impairment. There can be no assurance that our future evaluations of goodwill will not result in our recognition of impairment charges, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial statements and results of operations.

Our parent, Ascent Capital, may have substantial indemnification obligations under a tax sharing agreement it entered into in connection with the 2008 spin-off of Ascent Capital from Discovery Holding Company (“DHC”), a subsidiary of Discovery Communications, Inc., (the "2008 spin-off") and, under the terms of this agreement, we may be responsible for any such obligations.
 
Pursuant to Ascent Capital’s tax sharing agreement with DHC, Ascent Capital has agreed to be responsible for all taxes attributable to Ascent Capital or any of its subsidiaries, whether accruing before, on or after the 2008 spin-off (subject to specified exceptions). Ascent Capital has also agreed to be responsible for and indemnify DHC with respect to (i) certain taxes attributable to DHC or any of its subsidiaries (other than Discovery Communications, LLC) and (ii) all taxes arising as a result of the 2008 spin-off (subject to specified exceptions). Ascent Capital’s indemnification obligations under the tax sharing agreement are not limited in amount or subject to any cap and could be substantial. Pursuant to the reorganization agreement we entered into with DHC in connection with the 2008 spin-off, we assumed certain indemnification obligations designed to make our company financially responsible for substantially all non-tax liabilities that may exist relating to the business of Ascent Captial's former subsidiary, Ascent Media Group, LLC. whether incurred prior to or after the 2008 spin-off, as well as certain obligations of DHC. Any indemnification payments under the tax sharing agreement or the reorganization agreement could be substantial.

ITEM 1B.  UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
 
None.


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ITEM 2.  PROPERTIES

The Company leases approximately 165,000 square feet in Farmers Branch, Texas to house its executive offices, monitoring and certain call centers, sales and marketing and data retention functions.  We also leases approximately 16,000 square feet in Dallas, Texas and 13,000 square feet in McKinney, Texas, of office space that support our monitoring operations and back up facility.

LiveWatch leases approximately 10,000 square feet of office space in St Marys, Kansas to house its sales, fulfillment function and software development. Additionally, LiveWatch leases approximately 1,500 square feet of office space in Evanston, Illinois for its general administrative functions.

ITEM 3.  LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
 
From time to time, the Company is involved in litigation and similar claims incidental to the conduct of its business.  Although no assurances can be given, in the opinion of management, none of the pending actions is likely to have a material adverse impact on the Company’s financial position or results of operations, either individually or in the aggregate.

ITEM 4.  MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
 
None.


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PART II

ITEM 5.  MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
 
Pursuant to the Monitronics Acquisition, the Company deauthorized all shares of Class A and Class B common stock upon its merger with Merger Sub on December 17, 2010. The newly formed entity has one thousand shares of common stock issued and outstanding to Ascent Capital as of December 31, 2010.  There have been no changes to the common stock issued and outstanding since the Monitronics Acquisition.
 
We did not pay any dividends to Ascent Capital for the year ended December 31, 2015. We have paid $2,000,000 in dividends to Ascent Capital for the year ended December 31, 2014. From time to time we may provide dividends to Ascent Capital as permitted in our Credit Facility.

ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The (i) selected balance sheet data as of December 31, 2015 and 2014 and (ii) the selected statement of operations data for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013, are derived from the accompanying consolidated financial statements and notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report and should be read in conjunction with those financial statements and notes thereto.  The balance sheet data as of December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011 and the statements of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011 shown below were derived from previously issued financial statements including a reclass of deferred financing costs and current deferred taxes as required by the adoption of new pronouncements from the Financial Accounting Standards Board.    
Summary Balance Sheet Data
As of December 31,
(Amounts in thousands):
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
Current assets
$
26,147

 
23,326

 
23,733

 
30,561

 
49,890

Property and Equipment, net
$
26,654

 
23,280

 
24,561

 
20,559

 
19,977

Total assets
$
2,070,267

 
1,997,162

 
1,985,674

 
1,420,720

 
1,327,960

Current liabilities
$
82,715

 
84,565

 
86,831

 
60,747

 
103,142

Long-term debt
$
1,739,147

 
1,619,624

 
1,572,305

 
1,080,836

 
891,347

Stockholder’s equity
$
201,065

 
257,566

 
292,660

 
258,924

 
288,624


Summary Statement of Operations Data
Fiscal Year Ended December 31,
(Amounts in thousands):
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
Net revenue
$
563,356

 
539,449

 
451,033

 
344,953

 
311,898

Operating income (loss)
$
63,725

 
93,490

 
82,539

 
66,167

 
49,187

Net income (loss)
$
(72,448
)
 
(29,717
)
 
(16,687
)
 
(16,776
)
 
(6,759
)




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ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
 
The following discussion and analysis provides information concerning our results of operations and financial condition. This discussion should be read in conjunction with our accompanying consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto included elsewhere herein.

Overview
 
We provide security alarm monitoring and related services to residential and business subscribers throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada.  We monitor signals arising from burglaries, fires, medical alerts and other events through security systems at subscribers’ premises.  Nearly all of our revenues are derived from monthly recurring revenues under security alarm monitoring contracts acquired through our exclusive nationwide network of independent dealers.
 
Revenues are recognized as the related monitoring services are provided. Other revenues are derived from the provision of third-party contract monitoring services and from field technical repair services.  Additionally, LiveWatch generates revenue from equipment sales that is recognized as the equipment is shipped to the customer. All direct external costs associated with the creation of subscriber accounts and certain internal direct costs, including bonus incentives for account activations at LiveWatch, are capitalized and amortized over fifteen years using a declining balance method beginning in the month following the date of acquisition.

Attrition
 
Account cancellation, otherwise referred to as subscriber attrition, has a direct impact on the number of subscribers that we service and on our financial results, including revenues, operating income and cash flow.  A portion of the subscriber base can be expected to cancel its service every year. Subscribers may choose not to renew or terminate their contract for a variety of reasons, including relocation, cost and switching to a competitor’s service.  The largest category of canceled accounts relate to subscriber relocation or the inability to contact the subscriber.  We define our attrition rate as the number of canceled accounts in a given period divided by the weighted average of number of subscribers for that period.  We consider an account canceled if payment from the subscriber is deemed uncollectible or if the subscriber cancels for various reasons.  If a subscriber relocates but continues its service, this is not a cancellation.  If the subscriber relocates, discontinues its service and a new subscriber takes over the original subscriber’s service continuing the revenue stream, this is also not a cancellation.  We adjust the number of canceled accounts by excluding those that are contractually guaranteed by our dealers.  The typical dealer contract provides that if a subscriber cancels in the first year of its contract, the dealer must either replace the canceled account with a new one or refund to us the cost paid to acquire the contract. To help ensure the dealer’s obligation to us, we typically maintain a dealer funded holdback reserve ranging from 5-10% of subscriber accounts in the guarantee period.  In some cases, the amount of the holdback liability may be less than actual attrition experience.
 

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The table below presents subscriber data for the twelve months ended December 31, 2015 and 2014:
 
 
Twelve Months Ended
December 31,
 
 
 
2015
 
2014
 
Beginning balance of accounts
 
1,058,962

 
1,046,155

 
Accounts acquired
 
188,941

 
156,225

 
Accounts canceled
 
(147,923
)
 
(135,842
)
 
Canceled accounts guaranteed by dealer and acquisition adjustments (a)
 
(10,445
)
 
(7,576
)
(b)
Ending balance of accounts
 
1,089,535

 
1,058,962

 
Monthly weighted average accounts
 
1,086,071

 
1,052,492

 
Attrition rate (c)
 
(13.6
)%
 
(12.9
)%
 
 
(a)
Includes canceled accounts that are contractually guaranteed to be refunded from holdback.
(b)
Includes an increase of 1,101 subscriber accounts associated with multi-site subscribers that were considered single accounts prior to the completion of the Security Networks integration in April 2014.
(c)
The recurring monthly revenue ("RMR") attrition rate for the twelve months ended December 31, 2015 and 2014 was 13.7% and 12.6%, respectively. The RMR of canceled accounts follows the same definition as subscriber unit attrition noted above. RMR attrition is defined as the RMR of canceled accounts in a given period, adjusted for the impact of price increases or decreases in that period, divided by the weighted average of RMR for that period. RMR attrition is a commonly used performance indicator in our industry.
 
The attrition rate for the twelve months ended December 31, 2015 and 2014 was 13.6% and 12.9%, respectively. Increased attrition is primarily the result of an increase in the number of subscriber accounts reaching the end of their initial contract term in the period primarily related to the Pinnacle Security bulk buys. Monitronics purchased approximately 113,000 accounts from Pinnacle Security in 2012 and 2013 which are now experiencing normal end-of-term attrition. The Pinnacle Security accounts are contributing approximately 100 basis points of excess attrition within the overall portfolio. The attrition rate without the Pinnacle Security accounts as of December 31, 2015 is 12.7%.

We analyze our attrition by classifying accounts into annual pools based on the year of acquisition.  We then track the number of accounts that cancel as a percentage of the initial number of accounts acquired for each pool for each year subsequent to its acquisition.  Based on the average cancellation rate across the pools, we have averaged less than 1% attrition within the initial 12-month period after considering the accounts which were replaced or refunded by the dealers at no additional cost to us.  Over the next few years of the subscriber account life, the number of subscribers that cancel as a percentage of the initial number of subscribers in that pool gradually increases and historically has peaked following the end of the initial contract term, which is typically three to five years.  The peak following the end of the initial contract term is primarily a result of the buildup of subscribers that moved or no longer had need for the service but did not cancel their service until the end of their initial contract term.  Subsequent to the peak following the end of the initial contract term, the number of subscribers that cancel as a percentage of the initial number of subscribers in that pool declines.

Accounts Acquired
 
During the three months ended December 31, 2015 and 2014, we acquired 37,349 and 37,998 subscriber accounts, respectively.

During the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014, we acquired 188,941 and 156,225 subscriber accounts, respectively. Accounts acquired for the year ended December 31, 2015 include 31,919 from the LiveWatch Acquisition in February 2015. Acquired contracts for the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014 also include approximately 2,000 and 8,300 accounts, respectively, purchased in various bulk buys throughout the periods.

RMR acquired during the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2015 was approximately $1,720,000 and $8,188,000, respectively. RMR acquired for the year ended December 31, 2015 included $909,000 from the LiveWatch Acquisition in February 2015. RMR acquired during the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2014 was approximately $1,776,000 and $7,182,000, respectively.

Adjusted EBITDA
 
We evaluate the performance of our operations based on financial measures such as revenue and "Adjusted EBITDA."  Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income (loss) before interest expense, interest income, income taxes, depreciation,

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amortization (including the amortization of subscriber accounts, dealer network and other intangible assets), restructuring charges, stock-based compensation, and other non-cash or non-recurring charges.   We believe that Adjusted EBITDA is an important indicator of the operational strength and performance of our business, including our ability to fund our ongoing acquisition of subscriber accounts, our capital expenditures and to service our debt.  In addition, this measure is used by management to evaluate operating results and perform analytical comparisons and identify strategies to improve performance.   Adjusted EBITDA is also a measure that is customarily used by financial analysts to evaluate the financial performance of companies in the security alarm monitoring industry and is one of the financial measures, subject to certain adjustments, by which our covenants are calculated under the agreements governing our debt obligations.  Adjusted EBITDA does not represent cash flow from operations as defined by generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), should not be construed as an alternative to net income or loss and is indicative neither of our results of operations nor of cash flows available to fund all of our cash needs.  It is, however, a measurement that we believe is useful to investors in analyzing our operating performance.  Accordingly, Adjusted EBITDA should be considered in addition to, but not as a substitute for, net income, cash flow provided by operating activities and other measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP.  Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure.  As companies often define non-GAAP financial measures differently, Adjusted EBITDA as calculated by Monitronics should not be compared to any similarly titled measures reported by other companies.

Results of Operations
 
The following table sets forth selected data from the accompanying consolidated statements of operations for the periods indicated (amounts in thousands).
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
Net revenue (a)
$
563,356

 
539,449

 
451,033

 
Cost of services
110,246

 
93,600

 
74,136

 
Selling, general, and administrative, including stock-based compensation
106,287

 
87,943

 
77,162

 
Amortization of subscriber accounts, dealer network and other intangible assets
258,668

 
253,403

 
208,760

 
Interest expense
125,415

 
119,607

 
96,145

 
Income tax expense from continuing operations
6,290

 
3,600

 
3,081

 
Net loss
(72,448
)
 
(29,717
)
 
(16,687
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Adjusted EBITDA (b)
$
354,807

 
362,227

 
305,250

 
Adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of Revenue
63.0
%
 
67.1
%
 
67.7
%
 
 
(a)        Net revenue for the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2013 reflects the negative impact of $359,000 and $2,715,000, respectively, fair value adjustments that reduced deferred revenue acquired in the Security Networks Acquisition and LiveWatch Acquisition, respectively.
(b)          See reconciliation to net loss below.
 
Net Revenue.  Revenue increased $23,907,000, or 4.4%, for the year ended December 31, 2015 as compared to the corresponding prior year.  The increase in net revenue is attributable to the growth in the number of subscriber accounts and the increase in average monthly revenue per subscriber.  The growth in subscriber accounts reflects the acquisition of over 157,000 accounts through the Monitronics and LiveWatch subscriber channels, as well as 31,919 accounts from the LiveWatch Acquisition in February 2015. In addition, average monthly revenue per subscriber increased from $41.64 as of December 31, 2014 to $41.92 as of December 31, 2015.  Excluding accounts acquired through the LiveWatch Acquisition, which had an average monthly revenue per subscriber of $28.46, Monitronics' average monthly revenue per subscriber increased from $41.64 to $42.33 for the period ending December 31, 2015. Net revenue also reflects the negative impact of a $359,000 fair value adjustment that reduced deferred revenue acquired in the LiveWatch Acquisition.

Revenue increased $88,416,000, or 19.6%, for the year ended December 31, 2014 as compared to the corresponding prior year.  The increase in net revenue is attributable to the growth in the number of subscriber accounts and the increase in average monthly revenue per subscriber.  The increase in net revenue is attributable to the growth in the number of subscriber accounts and the increase in average monthly revenue per subscriber.  The growth in subscriber accounts reflects the acquisition of over 200,000 accounts from the Security Networks Acquisition in August 2013 and the acquisition of over 145,000 accounts through

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Monitronics’ authorized dealer program subsequent to December 31, 2013.  In addition, average monthly revenue per subscriber increased from $40.90 as of December 31, 2013 to $41.64 as of December 31, 2014.  Net revenue for the year ended December 31, 2013 also reflects the negative impact of a $2,715,000 fair value adjustment that reduced deferred revenue acquired in the Security Networks Acquisition.
 
Cost of Services.  Cost of services increased $16,646,000 or 17.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2015 as compared to the corresponding prior year.  The increase is attributable to the inclusion of LiveWatch, which expensed equipment costs associated with the creation of new subscribers of $7,058,000. The increase is also attributable to the growth in the number of accounts being monitored across the cellular network, including home automation accounts, and service costs to upgrade existing subscribers' equipment. Service cost of services as a percent of net revenue increased from 17.4% for the year ended December 31, 2014 to 19.6% for the year ended December 31, 2015.

Costs of services increased $19,464,000, or 26.3%, for the year ended December 31, 2014 as compared to the corresponding prior year. The increase is attributed to subscriber growth and increases in cellular and service costs as more accounts are being monitored across the cellular network, which require additional service costs to upgrade existing subscribers' equipment. In addition, Monitronics incurred redundant staffing costs at its Dallas, Texas monitoring and call center facilities through April 2014, when the transition of Security Networks operations from Florida to Texas was complete. Cost of service as a percent of net revenue increased from 16.4% for the year ended December 31, 2013 to 17.4% for the year ended December 31, 2014.

Selling, General and Administrative.  Selling, general and administrative expense (“SG&A”) increased $18,344,000, or 20.9%, for the year ended December 31, 2015 as compared to the corresponding prior year.  The primary driver of the increase in SG&A expense is attributable to $11,240,000 of LiveWatch marketing and sales expense related to the creation of new subscribers. LiveWatch SG&A also includes $3,930,000 of contingent bonuses payable to LiveWatch's key members of management in accordance with the employment agreements entered into in connection with the LiveWatch Acquisition. Other increases in SG&A are one-time costs incurred by the Company of $946,000 related to professional services rendered in connection with the LiveWatch Acquisition and $720,000 costs incurred to relocate our headquarters in July 2015. These increases are partially offset by decreases in our staffing and operating costs at our headquarters as a result of the Security Networks' integration being completed in April 2014. SG&A for the year ended December 31, 2014 also includes $2,182,000 of incremental costs incurred in connection with Security Networks integration. SG&A as a percent of net revenue increased from 16.3% for the year ended December 31, 2014 to 18.9% for the year ended December 31, 2015.

Selling, general and administrative expense (“SG&A”) increased $10,781,000, or 14.0%, for the year ended December 31, 2014 as compared to the corresponding prior year.  The increase is attributable to increases in Monitronics SG&A costs which are primarily attributable to subscriber growth over the last twelve months. In addition, Monitronics incurred redundant staffing and operating costs in its Dallas, Texas headquarters through April 2014, when the transition of Security Network operations from Florida to Texas was completed. SG&A as a percent of net revenue decreased from 17.1% for the year ended December 31, 2013 to 16.3% for the year ended December 31, 2014.

Amortization of Subscriber Accounts, Dealer Network and Other Intangible Assets.  Amortization of subscriber accounts, dealer network and other intangible assets increased $5,265,000 and $44,643,000 for the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively, as compared to the corresponding prior years.  The increases are attributable to amortization of subscriber accounts acquired subsequent to each of the preceding years ended. In addition, for the year ended December 31, 2014, amortization includes approximately $58,126,000 of amortization expense related to the definite lived intangible assets acquired in the Security Networks Acquisition as compared to $23,599,000 for the year ended December 31, 2013.

Interest Expense.  Interest expense increased $5,808,000 and $23,462,000 for the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively, as compared to the corresponding prior years.  The increase in interest expense for the year ended December 31, 2015 is primarily attributable to increases in the Company's consolidated debt balance related to the borrowings incurred to fund the the Company's LiveWatch acquisition and the subsequent amendment of its Credit Facility term loans in April 2015. The increase includes the impact of the amortization of the debt discount and deferred financing costs related to the Company's outstanding debt.

The increase in interest expense for the year ended December 31, 2014 is attributable to increases in the Company's consolidated debt balance related to the borrowings incurred to fund the Security Networks Acquisition. The increase is partially offset by the favorable repricing of Monitronics' credit facility interest rates effective March 25, 2013.

Amortization of debt discount and deferred debt costs included in interest expense for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013 was $6,506,000, $5,485,000 and $4,404,000, respectively. 

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Income Tax Expense.  For the year ended December 31, 2015, we had a pre-tax loss of $66,158,000 and income tax expense of $6,290,000.  For the year ended December 31, 2014, we had a pre-tax loss of $26,117,000 and income tax expense of $3,600,000.  For the year ended December 31, 2013, we had a pre-tax loss of $13,606,000 and income tax expense of $3,081,000.  Income tax expense for the year ended December 31, 2015, is attributable to Texas state margin tax and the deferred tax impact from amortization of deductible goodwill attributable to the LiveWatch and Security Networks acquisitions. Income tax expense for the years ended December 31, 2014 and 2013, is attributable to Texas state margin tax and the deferred tax impact from amortization of deductible goodwill attributable to the Security Networks Acquisition. For the year ended December 31, 2013, income tax is offset by the reduction in valuation allowance as result of acquisition accounting for the Security Networks Acquisition.

Net loss. For the year ended December 31, 2015, net loss increased to $72,448,000 from $29,717,000 for the year ended December 31, 2014. The increase in net loss is attributable to a $13,256,000 increase in costs incurred under the Company's Radio Conversion Program, the negative impact of expensed creation costs as a result of LiveWatch's direct-to-consumer model (which is further discussed in Adjusted EBITDA below), increased interest costs and refinancing costs of $4,468,000 related to the April 2015 amendment to Monitronics' Credit Facility.

For the year ended December 31, 2014, net loss increased to $29,717,000 from $16,687,000 for the year end December 31, 2013. The increase in net loss is primarily attributable to increased interest costs as a result of the borrowings incurred to fund the Security Networks Acquisition.

Adjusted EBITDA. The following table provides a reconciliation of total Adjusted EBITDA to net loss (amounts in thousands):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Adjusted EBITDA
$
354,807

 
362,227

 
305,250

Amortization of subscriber accounts, dealer network and other intangible assets
(258,668
)
 
(253,403
)
 
(208,760
)
Depreciation
(10,066
)
 
(9,019
)
 
(7,327
)
Stock-based compensation
(2,271
)
 
(2,068
)
 
(1,779
)
One-time severance expense (a)
(112
)
 

 

Restructuring charges

 
(952
)
 
(1,111
)
Radio Conversion Program costs
(14,369
)
 
(1,113
)
 

Security Networks Acquisition costs

 

 
(2,470
)
Security Networks Integration costs

 
(2,182
)
 
(1,264
)
LiveWatch acquisition related costs
(946
)
 

 

LiveWatch acquisition contingent bonus charges
(3,930
)
 

 

Headquarters relocation costs
(720
)
 

 

Refinancing expense
(4,468
)
 

 

Interest expense
(125,415
)
 
(119,607
)
 
(96,145
)
Income tax expense
(6,290
)
 
(3,600
)
 
(3,081
)
Net loss
$
(72,448
)
 
(29,717
)
 
(16,687
)
  
 
(a)         Severance expense related to transitioning executive leadership.

Adjusted EBITDA decreased $7,420,000, or 2.0% for the year ended December 31, 2015 as compared to the corresponding prior year.  Adjusted EBITDA is negatively impacted for the year ended December 31, 2015 due to LiveWatch's direct-to-consumer business, which requires it to recognize certain revenue and expenses associated with the creation of subscriber accounts. This is in contrast to Monitronics' dealer business, which capitalizes payments to dealers to acquire accounts and amortizes those payments to amortization expense over the life of the accounts.  LiveWatch's expensed creation costs, net of creation revenue, included in adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2015 was $14,276,000.
 
Adjusted EBITDA increased $56,977,000, or 18.7% for the year ended December 31, 2014 as compared to the corresponding prior year.  The increase in Adjusted EBITDA was primarily due to revenue growth. 

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Liquidity and Capital Resources
 
At December 31, 2015, we had $2,580,000 of cash and cash equivalents and $55,000 of current restricted cash.  We may use a portion of these assets to decrease debt obligations, or fund potential strategic acquisitions or investment opportunities. Our primary source of funds is our cash flows from operating activities, which are generated from alarm monitoring and related service revenues.  During the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013, our cash flow from operating activities was $208,844,000, $233,866,000 and $214,649,000, respectively.  The primary driver of our cash flow from operating activities is Adjusted EBITDA.  Fluctuations in our Adjusted EBITDA and the components of that measure are discussed in "Results of Operations" above.  In addition, our cash flow from operating activities may be significantly impacted by changes in working capital.
 
During the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013, we used cash of $266,558,000, $268,160,000 and $234,914,000, respectively, to fund the subscriber account acquisitions, net of holdback and guarantee obligations.  In addition, during the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013, we used cash of $12,422,000, $7,769,000 and $9,925,000, respectively, to fund our capital expenditures.
 
In 2015, Monitronics paid cash of $56,778,000 for the acquisition of LiveWatch, net of the transfer of $3,988,000 to LiveWatch upon the Closing Date to fund LiveWatch employees' transaction bonuses and LiveWatch cash on hand of $784,000. The LiveWatch Acquisition was funded by borrowings from Monitronics' expanded Credit Factility revolver as well as cash contributions from Ascent Capital.

In 2013, we paid cash of $478,738,000 as part of the purchase price paid to acquire Security Networks, net of Security Networks' cash on hand of $3,096,000.  The Security Networks Acquisition was funded by cash contributions from Ascent Capital, the proceeds of the issuance of $175,000,000 in aggregate principal amount of 9.125% Senior Notes due 2020, the proceeds of incremental term loans of $225,000,000 issued under the Company’s existing credit facility, and the proceeds of a $100,000,000 intercompany loan from Ascent Capital (the “Ascent Intercompany Loan”).  In addition to the cash paid, the purchase price also consisted of 253,333 shares of Ascent Capital’s Series A common stock (the “Ascent Shares”), par value $0.01 per share, which were contributed to the Company by Ascent Capital.  The Ascent Shares had a Closing Date fair value of $18,723,000.
 
In considering our liquidity requirements for 2016, we evaluated our known future commitments and obligations.  We will require the availability of funds to finance our strategy to grow through the acquisition of subscriber accounts. In 2014, we implemented a Radio Conversion Program in response to one of the nation's largest carriers announcing that it does not intend to support its 2G cellular network services beyond 2016. The Company has incurred $14,369,000 and $1,113,000 in connection with the Radio Conversion Program for the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively. Additionally, we could incur incremental costs of $17,000,000 to $21,000,000 in 2016, as we replace or upgrade equipment used in those of our subscribers' security systems that operate over this carrier's network. As of December 31, 2015, we have approximately 41% of the 2G subscriber base remaining to convert from the 2G cellular network. We considered our expected cash flow as well as the borrowing capacity of our Credit Facility revolver, under which we could borrow an additional $181,750,000 as of December 31, 2015.  Based on this analysis, we expect that cash on hand, cash flow generated from operations and borrowings under our Credit Facility will provide sufficient liquidity, given our anticipated current and future requirements.
 
The existing long-term debt at December 31, 2015 includes the principal balance of $1,767,909,000 under our Senior Notes, the Ascent Intercompany Loan, our Credit Facility, and our Credit Facility revolver.  The Senior Notes have an outstanding principal balance of $585,000,000 as of December 31, 2015.  The Ascent Intercompany Loan had an outstanding principal balance of $100,000,000 as of December 31, 2015. The Credit Facility term loans have an outstanding principal balance of $949,659,000 as of December 31, 2015 and require principal payments of $1,375,000 per quarter with $403,784,000 becoming due on March 23, 2018 and the remaining amount becoming due April 9, 2022. The Credit Facility revolver has an outstanding balance of $133,250,000 as of December 31, 2015 and becomes due on December 22, 2017.

On February 29, 2016, the Board of Directors of Ascent Capital approved the contribution to the stated capital of the Company of $88,000,000 of the $100,000,000 outstanding principal amount under the Ascent Intercompany Loan. The remaining $12,000,000 principal amount will be reflected on an Amended and Restated Promissory Note, which is due on October 1, 2020 and will bear interest at a rate equal to 12.5% per annum, payable semi-annually in cash in arrears.
 
We may seek capital contributions from Ascent Capital or debt financing in the event of any new investment opportunities, additional capital expenditures or our operations requiring additional funds, but there can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain capital contributions from Ascent Capital or debt financing on terms that would be acceptable to us or at all.  Our

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ability to seek additional sources of funding depends on our future financial position and results of operations, which are subject to general conditions in or affecting our industry and our customers and to general economic, political, financial, competitive, legislative and regulatory factors beyond our control.

Contractual Obligations
 
Information concerning the amount and timing of required payments under our contractual obligations at December 31, 2015 is summarized below (amounts in thousands):
 
Payments Due by Period
 
Less than
 1 Year
 
1-3 Years
 
3-5 Years
 
After 5
 Years
 
Total
Operating leases
$
3,656

 
5,675

 
5,767

 
28,513

 
43,611

Long-term debt (a)
5,500

 
548,034

 
696,000

 
518,375

 
1,767,909

Other (b)
16,496

 
220

 
522

 
5,767

 
23,005

Total contractual obligations
$
25,652

 
553,929

 
702,289

 
552,655

 
1,834,525

 
 
(a)         Amounts reflect principal amounts owed and therefore exclude net unamortized discount and deferred debt costs of $23,262,000.  Amounts also exclude interest payments which are based on variable interest rates.
(b)
Primarily represents our holdback liability whereby we withhold payment of a designated percentage of acquisition cost when we acquire subscriber accounts from dealers. The holdback is used as a reserve to cover any terminated subscriber accounts that are not replaced by the dealer during the guarantee period.  At the end of the guarantee period, the dealer is responsible for any deficit or is paid the balance of the holdback.
 
We have contingent liabilities related to legal proceedings and other matters arising in the ordinary course of business. Although it is reasonably possible we 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 consolidated financial statements.
 
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
 
None.

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
 
Valuation of Subscriber Accounts
 
Subscriber accounts, which totaled $1,423,538,000 net of accumulated amortization, at December 31, 2015, relate primarily to the cost of acquiring portfolios of monitoring service contracts from independent dealers.  The subscriber accounts acquired in our account acquisitions were recorded at fair value under the acquisition method of accounting.  Subscriber accounts not acquired as part of a business combination are recorded at cost.  All direct external costs and certain internal costs, including bonus incentives related to account activation at LiveWatch, associated with the creation of subscriber accounts, including new subscriber contracts obtained in connection with a subscriber move, are capitalized. 
 
The costs of subscriber accounts acquired in the Monitronics and Security Networks acquisitions, as well as certain accounts acquired in bulk purchases, are amortized using the 14-year 235% declining balance method.  The costs of all other subscriber accounts are amortized using the 15-year 220% declining balance method, beginning in the month following the date of acquisition.  The amortization methods were selected to provide an approximate matching of the amortization of the subscriber accounts intangible asset to estimated future subscriber revenues based on the projected lives of individual subscriber contracts.  The realizable value and remaining useful lives of these assets could be impacted by changes in subscriber attrition rates, which could have an adverse effect on our earnings.
 
The Company reviews the subscriber accounts for impairment or a change in amortization method and period whenever events or changes indicate that the carrying amount of the asset may not be recoverable or the life should be shortened. For purposes of recognition and measurement of an impairment loss, we view subscriber accounts as a single pool because of the assets’ homogeneous characteristics, and because the pool of subscriber accounts is the lowest level for which identifiable cash flows are largely independent of the cash flows of the other assets and liabilities.

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Valuation of Long-lived Assets and Amortizable Other Intangible Assets
 
We perform impairment tests for our long-lived assets, primarily property and equipment, if an event or circumstance indicates that the carrying amount of our long-lived assets may not be recoverable.  We are subject to the possibility of impairment of long-lived assets arising in the ordinary course of business. We regularly consider the likelihood of impairment and may recognize impairment if the carrying amount of a long-lived asset or intangible asset is not recoverable from its undiscounted cash flows.  Impairment is measured as the difference between the carrying amount and the fair value of the asset. We use both the income approach and market approach to estimate fair value. Our estimates of fair value are subject to a high degree of judgment since they include a long-term forecast of future operations. Accordingly, any value ultimately derived from our long-lived assets may differ from our estimate of fair value.
 
Valuation of Trade Receivables
 
We must make estimates of the collectability of our trade receivables.  We perform extensive credit evaluations on the portfolios of subscriber accounts prior to acquisition and require no collateral on the accounts that are acquired.  We establish an allowance for doubtful accounts for estimated losses resulting from the inability of subscribers to make required payments.  Factors such as historical-loss experience, recoveries and economic conditions are considered in determining the sufficiency of the allowance to cover potential losses.  Our trade receivables balance was $13,622,000, net of allowance for doubtful accounts of $2,762,000, as of December 31, 2015.  As of December 31, 2014, our trade receivables balance was $13,796,000, net of allowance for doubtful accounts of $2,120,000.
 
Valuation of Deferred Tax Assets
 
In accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") Topic 740, Income Taxes, we review the nature of each component of our deferred income taxes for the ability to realize the future tax benefits.  As part of this review, we rely on the objective evidence of our current performance and the subjective evidence of estimates of our forecast of future operations.  Our estimates of realizability are subject to a high degree of judgment since they include such forecasts of future operations.  After consideration of all available positive and negative evidence and estimates, we have determined that it is more likely than not that we will not realize the tax benefits associated with our United States deferred tax assets and certain foreign deferred tax assets, and as such, we have a valuation allowance which totaled $64,986,000 and $32,782,000 as of December 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively.

Valuation of Goodwill
 
As of December 31, 2015, we had goodwill of $563,549,000, which represents approximately 27.2% of total assets.  Goodwill was recorded in connection with the Monitronics, Security Networks and LiveWatch acquisitions.  The Company accounts for its goodwill pursuant to the provisions of FASB ASC Topic 350, Intangibles — Goodwill and Other ("FASB ASC Topic 350").  In accordance with FASB ASC Topic 350, goodwill is not amortized, but rather tested for impairment at least annually.
 
To the extent necessary, recoverability of goodwill for the reporting unit is measured using a discounted cash flow model incorporating discount rates commensurate with the risks involved, which is classified as a Level 3 measurement under FASB ASC Topic 820, Fair Value Measurement. The key assumptions used in the discounted cash flow valuation model include discount rates, growth rates, cash flow projections and terminal value rates. Discount rates, growth rates and cash flow projections are the most sensitive and susceptible to change as they require significant management judgment.
 
We perform our annual goodwill impairment analysis during the fourth quarter of each fiscal year.  In the event that we are not able to achieve expected cash flow levels, or other factors indicate that goodwill is impaired, we may need to write off all or part of our goodwill, which would adversely impact our operating results and financial position.


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ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
 
Interest Rate Risk
 
As of December 31, 2015, we have variable interest rate debt with principal amounts of $1,082,909,000.  As a result, we have exposure to changes in interest rates related to these debt obligations.  We use derivative financial instruments to manage the exposure related to the movement in interest rates.  As of December 31, 2015, we have seven outstanding derivatives with a net liability fair value of $13,470,000.  The derivatives are designated as hedges and were entered into with the intention of reducing the risk associated with variable interest rates on the debt obligations.  We do not use derivative financial instruments for trading purposes.
 
Tabular Presentation of Interest Rate Risk
 
The table below provides information about our debt obligations and derivative financial instruments that are sensitive to changes in interest rates. Interest rate swaps are presented at fair value and by maturity date. Debt amounts represent principal payments by maturity date.
 
 
As of December 31, 2015
Year of Maturity
 
Fixed Rate
Derivative
Instruments,
net (a)
 
Variable Rate
Debt
 
Fixed Rate
 Debt
 
Total
 
 
Amounts in thousands
2016
 
$

 
5,500

 

 
5,500

2017
 

 
138,750

 

 
138,750

2018
 
8,610

 
409,284

 

 
417,894

2019
 

 
5,500

 

 
5,500

2020
 

 
5,500

 
685,000

 
690,500

2021
 

 
5,500

 

 
5,500

Thereafter
 
4,860

 
512,875

 

 
517,735

Total
 
$
13,470

 
1,082,909

 
685,000

 
1,781,379

 
(a)        The derivative financial instruments reflected in this column include seven interest rate swaps.  The terms of the Company’s outstanding swap derivative instruments as of December 31, 2015 are as follows:
Notional
 
Effective Date
 
Maturity Date
 
Fixed
Rate Paid
 
Variable Rate Received
$
529,375,000

 
March 28, 2013
 
March 23, 2018
 
1.884%
 
3 mo. USD-LIBOR-BBA, subject to a 1.00% floor (a)
140,287,500

 
March 28, 2013
 
March 23, 2018
 
1.384%
 
3 mo. USD-LIBOR-BBA, subject to a 1.00% floor (a)
109,673,367

 
September 30, 2013
 
March 23, 2018
 
1.959%
 
3 mo. USD-LIBOR-BBA, subject to a 1.00% floor
109,673,367

 
September 30, 2013
 
March 23, 2018
 
1.850%
 
3 mo. USD-LIBOR-BBA, subject to a 1.00% floor
191,475,002

 
March 23, 2018
 
April 9, 2022
 
2.924%
 
3 mo. USD-LIBOR-BBA, subject to a 1.00% floor
250,000,000

 
March 23, 2018
 
April 9, 2022
 
2.810%
 
3 mo. USD-LIBOR-BBA, subject to a 1.00% floor
50,000,000

 
March 23, 2018
 
April 9, 2022
 
2.504%
 
3 mo. USD-LIBOR-BBA, subject to a 1.00% floor
 
(a) 
On March 25, 2013, Monitronics negotiated amendments to the terms of these interest rate swap agreements, which were entered into in March 2012 (the "Existing Swap Agreements"), (as amended, the "Amended Swaps").  The Amended Swaps are held with the same counterparties as the Existing Swap Agreements.  Upon entering into the Amended Swaps, Monitronics simultaneously dedesignated the Existing Swap Agreements and redesignated the Amended Swaps as cash flow hedges for the underlying change in the swap terms.  The amounts previously recognized in accumulated other comprehensive loss relating to the dedesignation are recognized in interest expense over the remaining life of the Amended Swaps.


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ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
 
Our consolidated financial statements are filed under this Item, beginning on page 32.  The financial statement schedules required by Regulation S-X are filed under Item 15 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

ITEM 9. CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
 
None.

ITEM 9A. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES
 
In accordance with Rules 13a-15 and 15d-15 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"), the Company carried out an evaluation, under the supervision and with the participation of management, including its chairman, president and principal accounting officer (the "Executives"), of the effectiveness of its disclosure controls and procedures as of the end of the period covered by this report.  Based on that evaluation, the Executives concluded that the Company’s disclosure controls and procedures were effective as of December 31, 2015 to provide reasonable assurance that information required to be disclosed in its reports filed or submitted under the Exchange Act is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rules and forms.
 
There has been no change in the Company’s internal control over financial reporting identified during the three months ended December 31, 2015 that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, its internal control over financial reporting.

MANAGEMENT’S REPORT ON INTERNAL CONTROL OVER FINANCIAL REPORTING
 
Monitronics’ management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over the Company’s financial reporting. The Company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of the consolidated financial statements and related disclosures in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The Company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions of the Company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of the consolidated financial statements and related disclosures in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles; (3) provide reasonable assurance that receipts and expenditures of the Company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the Company; and (4) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the Company’s assets that could have a material effect on the consolidated financial statements and related disclosures.
 
Because of inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies and procedures may deteriorate.
 
The Company assessed the design and effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2015.  In making this assessment, management used the criteria set forth by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission ("COSO") in Internal Control—Integrated Framework (2013).
 
Based upon our assessment using the criteria contained in COSO, management has concluded that, as of December 31, 2015, Monitronics’ internal control over financial reporting is effectively designed and operating effectively.
 
The Company acquired LiveWatch during 2015, and management excluded from its assessment of the effectiveness of the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2015, LiveWatch's internal control over financial reporting associated with total assets of $63,267,000 and total revenues of $14,734,000 included in the consolidated financial statements of the Company as of and for the year ended December 31, 2015.

The effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2015 has been audited by KPMG LLP, the independent registered public accounting firm that audited our financial statements.  Their report appears on page 33 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.


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ITEM 9B. OTHER INFORMATION
 
None.


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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
 
The Board of Directors
Monitronics International, Inc.
 
We have audited Monitronics International, Inc.’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2015, based on criteria established in Internal Control — Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). Monitronics International, Inc.’s management is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting in Item 9A. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audit.
 
We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audit included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audit also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.
 
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
 
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
 
In our opinion, Monitronics International, Inc. maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2015, based on criteria established in Internal Control — Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the COSO.

Monitronics International, Inc. acquired LiveWatch Security, LLC. during 2015, and management excluded from its assessment of the effectiveness of Monitronics International, Inc.'s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2015, LiveWatch Security, LLC’s internal control over financial reporting associated with total assets of $63,267,000 and total revenues of $14,734,000 included in the consolidated financial statements of Monitronics International, Inc. (and subsidiaries) as of and for the year ended December 31, 2015. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting of Monitronics International, Inc. also excluded an evaluation of the internal control over financial reporting of LiveWatch Security, LLC.
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), the consolidated balance sheets of Monitronics International, Inc. and subsidiaries as of December 31, 2015 and 2014, and the related consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive income (loss), and stockholder’s equity cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2015, and our report dated March 7, 2016 expressed an unqualified opinion on those consolidated financial statements.
 
 
 
/s/ KPMG LLP
Dallas, Texas
 
March 7, 2016
 

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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
 
The Board of Directors
Monitronics International, Inc.
 
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Monitronics International, Inc. and subsidiaries as of December 31, 2015 and 2014, and the related consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive income (loss), cash flows and stockholder’s equity for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2015. These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these consolidated financial statements based on our audits.
 
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. An audit also includes assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
 
In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Monitronics International, Inc. and subsidiaries as of December 31, 2015 and 2014, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2015, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
 
As discussed in Note 3 to the consolidated financial statements, during 2015, Monitronics International, Inc. adopted Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") 2015-03, Interest - Imputation of Interest (Subtopic 835-30) and ASU 2015-17, Income Taxes (Topic 740), Balance Sheet Classification of Deferred Taxes

We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), Monitronics International Inc.’s internal controls over financial reporting as of December 31, 2015, based on criteria established in Internal Control — Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO), and our report dated March 7, 2016 expressed an unqualified opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting.
 
 
 
/s/ KPMG LLP
 
 
Dallas, Texas
 
March 7, 2016
 


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MONITRONICS INTERNATIONAL, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Balance Sheets
Amounts in thousands, except share amounts
 
As of December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
Assets
 

 
 

Current assets:
 

 
 

Cash and cash equivalents
$
2,580

 
$
1,953

Restricted cash
55

 
18

Trade receivables, net of allowance for doubtful accounts of $2,762 in 2015 and $2,120 in 2014
13,622

 
13,796

Prepaid and other current assets
9,890

 
7,559

Total current assets
26,147

 
23,326

Property and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation of $27,057 in 2015 and $24,254 in 2014
26,654

 
23,280

Subscriber accounts, net of accumulated amortization of $975,795 in 2015 and $736,824 in 2014
1,423,538

 
1,373,630

Dealer network and other intangible assets, net of accumulated amortization of $73,578 in 2015 and $54,077 in 2014
26,654

 
44,855

Goodwill
563,549

 
527,502

Other assets, net
3,725

 
4,569

Total assets
$
2,070,267

 
$
1,997,162

Liabilities and Stockholder’s Equity
 

 
 

Current liabilities:
 

 
 

Accounts payable
$
8,621

 
$
6,710

Accrued payroll and related liabilities
3,479

 
3,604

Other accrued liabilities
32,522

 
31,094

Deferred revenue
16,207

 
14,945

Holdback liability
16,386

 
19,046

Current portion of long-term debt
5,500

 
9,166

Total current liabilities
82,715

 
84,565

Non-current liabilities:
 

 
 

Long-term debt
1,739,147

 
1,619,624

Long-term holdback liability
3,786

 
5,156

Derivative financial instruments
13,470

 
5,780

Deferred income tax liability, net
13,191

 
9,204

Other liabilities
16,893

 
15,267

Total liabilities
1,869,202

 
1,739,596

Commitments and contingencies


 


Stockholder’s equity:
 

 
 

Common stock, $.01 par value. 1,000 shares authorized, issued and outstanding both at December 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014

 

Additional paid-in capital
361,228

 
336,540

Accumulated deficit
(146,617
)
 
(74,169
)
Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)
(13,546
)
 
(4,805
)
Total stockholder’s equity
201,065

 
257,566

Total liabilities and stockholder’s equity
$
2,070,267

 
$
1,997,162

 

See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.

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MONITRONICS INTERNATIONAL, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Income (Loss)
Amounts in thousands
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
Net revenue
$
563,356

 
539,449

 
451,033

 
Operating expenses:
 

 
 

 
 
 
Cost of services
110,246

 
93,600

 
74,136

 
Selling, general, and administrative, including stock-based compensation
106,287

 
87,943

 
77,162

 
Radio conversion costs
14,369

 
1,113

 

 
Amortization of subscriber accounts, dealer network and other intangible assets
258,668

 
253,403

 
208,760

 
Depreciation
10,066

 
9,019

 
7,327

 
Restructuring charges

 
952

 
1,111

 
Gain on disposal of operating assets, net
(5
)
 
(71
)
 
(2
)
 
 
499,631

 
445,959

 
368,494

 
Operating income
63,725

 
93,490

 
82,539

 
Other expense, net:
 

 
 

 
 
 
Interest expense
125,415

 
119,607

 
96,145

 
Refinancing expense
4,468

 

 

 
 
129,883

 
119,607

 
96,145

 
Loss before income taxes
(66,158
)
 
(26,117
)
 
(13,606
)
 
Income tax expense
6,290

 
3,600

 
3,081

 
Net loss
(72,448
)
 
(29,717
)
 
(16,687
)
 
Other comprehensive income (loss):
 

 
 

 
 
 
Unrealized gain (loss) on derivative contracts, net
(8,741
)
 
(4,879
)
 
12,317

 
Total other comprehensive income (loss), net of tax
(8,741
)
 
(4,879
)
 
12,317

 
Comprehensive loss
$
(81,189
)
 
(34,596
)
 
(4,370
)
 

 
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.


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MONITRONICS INTERNATIONAL, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
Amounts in thousands
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Cash flows from operating activities:
 

 
 

 
 
Net loss
$
(72,448
)
 
(29,717
)
 
(16,687
)
Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash provided by operating activities:
 

 
 

 
 
Amortization of subscriber accounts, dealer network and other intangible assets
258,668

 
253,403

 
208,760

Depreciation
10,066

 
9,019

 
7,327

Stock-based compensation
2,271

 
2,068

 
1,779

Deferred income tax expense
3,986

 
74

 
254

Gain on disposal of operating assets, net
(5
)
 
(71
)
 
(2
)
Amortization of debt discount and deferred debt costs
6,506

 
5,485

 
4,404

Unrealized gain on derivative financial instruments

 

 

Refinancing expense
4,468

 

 

Other non-cash activity, net
14,132

 
7,550

 
7,564

Changes in assets and liabilities:
 

 
 

 
 
Trade receivables
(9,378
)
 
(8,926
)
 
(8,165
)
Prepaid expenses and other assets
(4,115
)
 
(1,306
)
 
8,361

Subscriber accounts - deferred contract costs
(1,773
)
 

 

Payables and other liabilities
(3,534
)
 
(3,713
)
 
1,054

Net cash provided by operating activities
208,844

 
233,866

 
214,649

Cash flows from investing activities:
 

 
 

 
 
Capital expenditures
(12,422
)
 
(7,769
)
 
(9,925
)
Cost of subscriber accounts acquired
(266,558
)
 
(268,160
)
 
(234,914
)
Cash paid for acquisition, net of cash acquired
(56,778
)
 

 
(478,738
)
Increase in restricted cash
(37
)
 
22

 
2,600

Proceeds from disposal of operating assets
5

 
241

 
2

Other investing activities

 
(436
)
 
(100
)
Net cash used in investing activities
(335,790
)
 
(276,102
)
 
(721,075
)
Cash flows from financing activities:
 

 
 

 
 
Proceeds from long-term debt
778,000

 
169,000

 
630,575

Payments on long-term debt
(666,640
)
 
(127,166
)
 
(133,048
)
Payments of financing costs
(6,477
)
 

 
(8,179
)
Contribution from Ascent Capital
22,690

 

 
20,000

Dividend to Ascent Capital

 
(2,000
)
 
(2,000
)
Net cash provided by financing activities
127,573

 
39,834

 
507,348

Net increase in cash and cash equivalents
627

 
(2,402
)
 
922

Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period
1,953

 
4,355

 
3,433

Cash and cash equivalents at end of period
$
2,580

 
1,953

 
4,355

 
 
 
 
 
 
Supplemental cash flow information:
 

 
 

 
 
State taxes paid
$
3,245

 
2,734

 
2,365

Interest paid
117,840

 
111,409

 
88,250

 

See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.

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Table of Contents

MONITRONICS INTERNATIONAL, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Statements of Stockholder’s Equity
Amounts in thousands, except share amounts
 
 
Common Stock
 
Additional
paid-in
capital
 
Accumulated
other
comprehensive income (loss)
 
Accumulated deficit
 
Total
stockholder’s equity
 
Shares
 
Amount
 
 
 
 
Balance at December 31, 2012
1,000

 

 
298,932

 
(12,243
)
 
(27,765
)
 
258,924

Net loss

 

 

 

 
(16,687
)
 
(16,687
)
Other comprehensive income

 

 

 
12,317

 

 
12,317

Contributions from Ascent Capital

 

 
38,723

 

 

 
38,723

Dividends paid to Ascent Capital

 

 
(2,000
)
 

 

 
(2,000
)
Stock-based compensation

 

 
1,779

 

 

 
1,779

Value of shares withheld for tax liability

 

 
(396
)
 
 
 
 
 
(396
)
Balance at December 31, 2013
1,000

 

 
337,038

 
74

 
(44,452
)
 
292,660

Net loss

 

 

 

 
(29,717
)
 
(29,717
)
Other comprehensive loss

 

 

 
(4,879
)
 

 
(4,879
)
Dividends paid to Ascent Capital

 

 
(2,000
)
 

 

 
(2,000
)
Stock-based compensation

 

 
1,918

 

 

 
1,918

Value of shares withheld for tax liability

 

 
(416
)
 

 

 
(416
)
Balance at December 31, 2014
1,000

 

 
336,540

 
(4,805
)
 
(74,169
)
 
257,566

Net loss

 

 

 

 
(72,448
)
 
(72,448
)
Other comprehensive loss

 

 

 
(8,741
)
 

 
(8,741
)
Contributions from Ascent Capital

 

 
22,690

 

 

 
22,690

Stock-based compensation

 

 
2,316

 

 

 
2,316

Value of Shares held for tax
liability

 

 
(318
)
 

 

 
(318
)
Balance at December 31, 2015
1,000

 
$

 
$
361,228

 
$
(13,546
)
 
$
(146,617
)
 
$
201,065

 
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.


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Table of Contents

MONITRONICS INTERNATIONAL, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
 
(1)    Basis of Presentation
 
Monitronics International, Inc. and subsidiaries (the “Company” or “Monitronics”) provide security alarm monitoring and related services to residential and business subscribers throughout the United States and parts of Canada. The Company monitors signals arising from burglaries, fires, medical alerts, and other events through security systems installed by independent dealers at subscribers’ premises.
 
On December 17, 2010, Ascent Capital Group, Inc. (“Ascent Capital”) acquired 100% of the outstanding capital stock of the Company through the merger of Mono Lake Merger Sub, Inc. (“Merger Sub”), a direct wholly owned subsidiary of Ascent Capital established to consummate the merger, with and into the Company, with the Company as the surviving corporation in the merger (the “Monitronics Acquisition”). On August 16, 2013, Monitronics acquired all of the equity interests of Security Networks LLC (“Security Networks”) and certain affiliated entities (the “Security Networks Acquisition”). On February 23, 2015, Monitronics acquired LiveWatch Security, LLC ("LiveWatch"), a Do-It-Yourself home security firm, offering professionally monitored security services through a direct-to-consumer sales channel (the "LiveWatch Acquisition").
 
The consolidated financial statements contained in this Annual Report have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”) for all periods presented.

The Company has reclassified certain prior period amounts to conform to the current period's presentation including the adoption of Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") 2015-03, Interest-Imputation of Interest (Subtopic 835-30) and ASU 2015-17, Income Taxes (Topic 740), Balance Sheet Classification of Deferred Taxes. See note 3, Recent Accounting Pronouncements for the changes in the presentation of those items. Additionally, the Company has reclassified certain prior period amounts related to Radio conversion costs to conform to the current period's presentation. These costs were previously reported in Cost of services on the Consolidated Statements of Operations and Other Comprehensive Income (Loss). Radio conversion costs represent all direct costs incurred by Monitronics during the subscribers' alarm monitoring system upgrade in relation to the Company's' Radio Conversion Program as well as indirect retention costs for impacted subscribers. The Radio Conversion program was implemented in 2014 in response to one of the nation's largest carriers announcing that it does not intend to support its 2G cellular services beyond 2016.
 
(2)    Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
 
Consolidation Principles
 
The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and its majority owned subsidiaries over which the Company exercises control. All intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.
 
Cash and Cash Equivalents
 
The Company considers investments with original purchased maturities of three months or less when acquired to be cash equivalents.
 
Restricted Cash
 
Restricted cash is cash that is restricted for a specific purpose and cannot be included in the cash and cash equivalents account.
 
Trade Receivables
 
Trade receivables consist primarily of amounts due from customers for recurring monthly monitoring services over a wide geographical base.  The Company performs extensive credit evaluations on the portfolios of subscriber accounts prior to acquisition and requires no collateral on the accounts that are acquired.  The Company has established an allowance for doubtful accounts for estimated losses resulting from the inability of subscribers to make required payments.  Factors such as historical-loss experience, recoveries and economic conditions are considered in determining the sufficiency of the allowance to cover potential losses.  The allowance for doubtful accounts as of December 31, 2015 and 2014 was $2,762,000 and $2,120,000, respectively.


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A summary of activity in the allowance for doubtful accounts is as follows (amounts in thousands):
 
Balance
Beginning
 of Year
 
Charged
 to Expense
 
Write-Offs
and Other
 
Balance
 End of
 Year
2015
$
2,120

 
9,735

 
(9,093
)
 
2,762

2014
$
1,937

 
8,149

 
(7,966
)
 
2,120

2013
$
1,436

 
7,342

 
(6,841
)
 
1,937

 
Concentration of Credit Risk
 
Financial instruments that potentially subject the Company to significant concentrations of credit risk consist principally of trade accounts receivable.  The Company performs extensive credit evaluations on the portfolios of subscriber accounts prior to acquisition and requires no collateral on the subscriber accounts that are acquired.  Concentrations of credit risk with respect to trade accounts receivable are generally limited due to the large number of subscribers comprising the Company's customer base.
 
Fair Value of Financial Instruments
 
Fair values of cash equivalents, current accounts receivable and current accounts payable approximate the carrying amounts because of their short-term nature.  The Company’s debt instruments are recorded at amortized cost on the consolidated balance sheet.  See note 10, Fair Value Measurements, for further fair value information on the Company’s debt instruments.
 
Property and Equipment
 
Property and equipment are carried at cost and depreciated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets. Leasehold improvements are amortized over the shorter of their estimated useful lives or the term of the underlying lease. Estimated useful lives by class of asset are as follows:
Leasehold improvements
 
15 years or lease term, if shorter
Machinery and equipment
 
5 - 7 years
Computer systems and software (included in Machinery and Equipment in note 5, Property and Equipment)
 
3 - 5 years
 
Management reviews the realizability of its property and equipment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. In evaluating the value and future benefits of long-term assets, their carrying value is compared to management’s best estimate of undiscounted future cash flows over the remaining economic life. If such assets are considered to be impaired, the impairment to be recognized is measured by the amount by which the carrying value of the assets exceeds the estimated fair value of the assets.  If necessary, the Company would use both the income approach and market approach to estimate fair value.

Subscriber Accounts
 
Subscriber accounts primarily relate to the cost of acquiring monitoring service contracts from independent dealers.  The subscriber accounts acquired in the Monitronics, Security Networks and the LiveWatch acquisitions were recorded at fair value under the acquisition method of accounting.  All other acquired subscriber accounts are recorded at cost.  All direct external costs associated with the creation of subscriber accounts and certain internal direct costs, including bonus incentives for account activations at LiveWatch, are capitalized and and amortized over fifteen years using a declining balance method beginning in the month following the date of acquisition.
 
The costs of subscriber accounts acquired in the Monitronics, Security Networks and LiveWatch acquisitions, as well as certain accounts acquired in bulk purchases, are amortized using the 14-year 235% declining balance method.  The costs of all other subscriber accounts are amortized using the 15-year 220% declining balance method, beginning in the month following the date of acquisition.  The amortization methods were selected to provide an approximate matching of the amortization of the subscriber accounts intangible asset to estimated future subscriber revenues based on the projected lives of individual subscriber contracts.  Amortization of subscriber accounts was $238,800,000, $233,327,000 and $195,010,000 for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively.
 

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Based on subscriber accounts held at December 31, 2015, estimated amortization of subscriber accounts in the succeeding five fiscal years ending December 31 is as follows (amounts in thousands):
2016
$
220,860

2017
$
186,295

2018
$
157,168

2019
$
132,735

2020
$
117,419

 
The Company reviews the subscriber accounts at least annually for impairment or a change in amortization method and period whenever events or changes indicate that the carrying amount of the asset may not be recoverable or the life should be shortened.  For purposes of recognition and measurement of an impairment loss, the Company views subscriber accounts as a single pool because of the assets’ homogeneous characteristics, and the pool of subscriber accounts is the lowest level for which identifiable cash flows are largely independent of the cash flows of the other assets and liabilities.
 
Dealer Network and Other Intangible Assets
 
Dealer network is an intangible asset that relates to the dealer relationships that were acquired as part of the Monitronics Acquisition and the Security Networks Acquisition.  Other intangible assets consist of non-compete agreements signed by the seller of Security Networks and certain key Security Networks executives and the LiveWatch trade mark asset.  These intangible assets will be amortized on a straight-line basis over their estimated useful lives of five years.  Amortization of dealer network and other intangible assets was $19,501,000, $19,780,000 and $13,717,000 for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively.
 
The Company reviews the dealer network and other intangible assets at least annually for impairment or a change in amortization period whenever events or changes indicate that the carrying amount of the assets may not be recoverable or the lives should be shortened.
 
Goodwill
 
The Company accounts for its goodwill pursuant to the provisions of Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") Topic 350, Intangibles — Goodwill and Other (“FASB ASC Topic 350”).  In accordance with FASB ASC Topic 350, goodwill is not amortized, but rather tested for impairment at least annually.
 
The Company assesses the recoverability of the carrying value of goodwill during the fourth quarter of its fiscal year or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the goodwill of a reporting unit may not be fully recoverable. Recoverability is measured at the reporting unit level based on the provisions of FASB ASC Topic 350.
 
To the extent necessary, recoverability of goodwill at a reporting unit level is measured using a discounted cash flow model incorporating discount rates commensurate with the risks involved, which is classified as a Level 3 measurement under FASB ASC Topic 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures. The key assumptions used in the discounted cash flow valuation model include discount rates, growth rates, cash flow projections and terminal value rates. Discount rates, growth rates and cash flow projections are the most sensitive and susceptible to change as they require significant management judgment. If the calculated fair value is less than the current carrying value, impairment of the reporting unit may exist. When the recoverability test indicates potential impairment, the Company will calculate an implied fair value of goodwill for the reporting unit. The implied fair value of goodwill is determined in a manner similar to how goodwill is calculated in a business combination. If the implied fair value of goodwill exceeds the carrying value of goodwill assigned to the reporting unit, there is no impairment. If the carrying value of goodwill assigned to a reporting unit exceeds the implied fair value of the goodwill, an impairment loss is recorded to write down the carrying value. An impairment loss cannot exceed the carrying value of goodwill assigned to the reporting unit but may indicate certain long-lived and amortizable intangible assets associated with the reporting unit may require additional impairment testing.
 
Deferred Financing Costs
 
Deferred financing costs are recorded as a reduction to long-term debt when the related debt is issued or when revolving credit lines increase the borrowing capacity of the Company.  Deferred financing costs are amortized over the term of the related debt using the effective interest method.
 

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Holdback Liability
 
The Company typically withholds payment of a designated percentage of the acquisition cost when it acquires subscriber accounts from dealers.  The withheld funds are recorded as a liability until the guarantee period provided by the dealer has expired.  The holdback is used as a reserve to cover any terminated subscriber accounts that are not replaced by the dealer during the guarantee period.  At the end of the guarantee period, the dealer is responsible for any deficit or is paid the balance of the holdback.
 
Derivative Financial Instruments
 
The Company uses derivative financial instruments to manage exposure to movement in interest rates. The use of these financial instruments modifies the exposure of these risks with the intention of reducing the risk or cost. The Company does not use derivatives for speculative or trading purposes. The Company recognizes the fair value of all derivative instruments as either assets or liabilities at fair value on the consolidated balance sheets. Fair value is based on market quotes for similar instruments with the same duration. For derivative instruments that qualify for hedge accounting under the provisions of FASB ASC Topic 815, Derivatives and Hedging, unrealized gains and losses on the derivative instruments are reported in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss), to the extent the hedges are effective, until the underlying transactions are recognized in earnings.  Derivative instruments that do not qualify for hedge accounting are marked to market at the end of each accounting period with the change in fair value recorded in earnings.
 
Revenue Recognition
 
Revenue is generated from security alarm monitoring and related services provided by the Company and its subsidiaries.  Revenue related to alarm monitoring services is recognized ratably over the life of the contract.  Revenue related to maintenance and other services is recognized as the services are rendered.  Deferred revenue includes payments for monitoring services to be provided in future periods. Additionally, equipment sales are recognized as the equipment is shipped to the customer.
 
Income Taxes
 
The Company accounts for income taxes under FASB ASC Topic 740, Income Taxes ("FASB ASC Topic 740"), which prescribes an asset and liability approach that requires the recognition of deferred tax assets and liabilities for the expected future tax consequences of events that have been recognized in the Company’s consolidated financial statements or tax returns. In estimating future tax consequences, the Company generally considers all expected future events other than proposed changes in the tax law or rates. Valuation allowances are established when necessary to reduce deferred tax assets to the amount expected to be realized.  Income tax expense is the tax payable or refundable for the period plus or minus the change during the period in deferred tax assets and liabilities.
 
FASB ASC Topic 740 specifies the accounting for uncertainty in income taxes recognized in a company’s financial statements and prescribes a recognition threshold and measurement attribute for the financial statement recognition and measurement of a tax position taken or expected to be taken in a tax return.  In instances where the Company has taken or expects to take a tax position in its tax return and the Company believes it is more likely than not that such tax position will be upheld by the relevant taxing authority, the Company records the benefits of such tax position in its consolidated financial statements.
 
Share-Based Compensation
 
The Company accounts for share-based awards pursuant to FASB ASC Topic 718, Compensation — Stock Compensation ("FASB ASC Topic 718"), which requires companies to measure the cost of employee services received in exchange for an award of equity instruments (such as stock options and restricted stock) based on the grant-date fair value of the award, and to recognize that cost over the period during which the employee is required to provide service (usually the vesting period of the award).
 
The grant-date fair value of the Ascent Capital stock options granted to the Company’s employees was calculated using the Black-Scholes model. The expected term of the awards was calculated using the simplified method included in FASB ASC Topic 718. The volatility used in the calculation is based on the historical volatility of peer companies and the risk-free rate is based on Treasury Bonds with a term similar to that of the subject options.  A dividend rate of zero was utilized for all granted stock options.
 


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Table of Contents


Estimates
 
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of revenue and expenses for each reporting period.  The significant estimates made in preparation of the Company’s consolidated financial statements primarily relate to valuation of goodwill, other intangible assets, long-lived assets, deferred tax assets, convertible debt arrangements, derivative financial instruments, and the amount of the allowance for doubtful accounts. These estimates are based on management’s best estimates and judgment. Management evaluates its estimates and assumptions on an ongoing basis using historical experience and other factors and adjusts them when facts and circumstances change. As the effects of future events cannot be determined with any certainty, actual results could differ from the estimates upon which the carrying values were based.
 
(3)    Recent Accounting Pronouncements
 
In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606). Under the update, revenue will be recognized based on a five-step model. The core principle of the model is that revenue will be recognized when the transfer of promised goods or services to customers is made in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. In the third quarter of 2015, the FASB deferred the effective date of the standard to annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2017. Early adoption will be permitted for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2016. The Company is currently evaluating the impact that adopting this ASU will have on its financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

In April 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-03, Interest - Imputation of Interest (Subtopic 835-30). Under this update, the cost of issuing debt will no longer be recorded as a separate asset, unless it is incurred before the receipt of the funding from the associated debt liability. Instead, debt issuance costs will be presented as a direct deduction from the debt liability, similar to the presentation of debt discounts. The costs will continue to be amortized to interest expense using the effective interest rate method. The ASU requires retrospective application to all prior periods presented in the financial statements and is effective for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2015. The Company elected to early adopt the ASU for the financial statements ending December 31, 2015, The change reclassified $20,918,000 from other assets net to long-term debt on the consolidated balance sheet for the period ending December 31, 2014. The adoption of the ASU did not impact results of operations or cash flows.

In September 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-16, Business Combinations (Topic 805). Under the update, an acquirer in a business combination is no longer required to account for measurement-period adjustments retrospectively, and, instead, will recognize a measurement-period adjustment during the period in which it determines the amount of the adjustment. The effective date of the standard is for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2015, and interim periods within those years. The Company does not expect the impact of adopting this ASU to be material to the Company's financial statements and related disclosures.

In November 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-17, Income Taxes (Topic 740), Balance Sheet Classification of Deferred Taxes. Under the update, deferred taxes would be classified as noncurrent in the statement of financial position instead of being separated into current and non-current amounts. The ASU is effective for financial statements issued after January 1, 2017 with early adoption permitted. Additionally, the Company may apply the standard either prospectively or retrospectively. The Company elected to early adopt the ASU for the financial statements ending December 31, 2015 and to apply the change retrospectively. The change reclassified $6,567,000 from the current asset for deferred income taxes, net to the non-current deferred income tax liability, Net for the period ending December 31, 2014 on the consolidated balance sheet. The adoption of the ASU did not impact results of operations or cash flows.

In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842) ("ASU 2016-02"). ASU 2016-02 requires the lessee to recognize assets and liabilities for leases with lease terms of more than twelve months. For leases with a term of twelve months or less, the Company is permitted to make an accounting policy election by class of underlying asset not to recognize lease assets and lease liabilities. Further, the lease requires a finance lease to recognize both an interest expense and an amortization of the associated expense. Operating leases generally recognize the associated expense on a straight line basis. ASU 2016-02 requires the Company to adopt the standard using a modified retrospective approach and adoption beginning on January 1, 2019. The Company is currently evaluating the impact that ASU 2016-02 will have on its financial position, results of operations and cash flows.



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Table of Contents

(4)    Acquisitions

The Company accounts for business combinations utilizing the acquisition method in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 805, Business Combinations. Under the acquisition method of accounting, the fair value of the consideration transferred has been allocated to the tangible and identifiable intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed based on their preliminary estimates of fair value.

LiveWatch Acquisition

On February 23, 2015 ("the Closing Date"), the Company acquired LiveWatch for a purchase price of approximately $61,550,000 (the "LiveWatch Purchase Price"). The LiveWatch Purchase Price includes approximately $3,988,000 of cash transferred directly to LiveWatch to fund transaction bonuses payable to LiveWatch employees as of the Closing Date. This cash is not included in the fair value of consideration transferred for the LiveWatch Acquisition. The LiveWatch Purchase Price also includes post-closing adjustments of $435,000 which were paid in the third quarter of 2015. The LiveWatch acquisition was funded by borrowings from the Company's revolving credit facility, as well as cash contributions from Ascent Capital.

In connection with the LiveWatch Acquisition, Monitronics entered into employment agreements with certain key members of the LiveWatch management team which provide for retention bonuses of $5,400,000 (the "LiveWatch Retention Bonuses") to be paid on the second anniversary of the Closing Date, and performance based bonus arrangements payable on the fourth anniversary of the Close Date (the "LiveWatch Performance Bonuses"). The LiveWatch Performance Bonuses are estimated to yield an aggregate payout of approximately $7,600,000. The LiveWatch Retention Bonuses and LiveWatch Performance Bonuses (together, the "LiveWatch Acquisition Contingent Bonuses") are contingent upon the continued employment of the key members of the LiveWatch management team. As such, the LiveWatch Acquisition Contingent Bonuses are expensed ratably over the service period based on the estimated value of the payouts. For the year ended December 31, 2015, the Company recognized $3,930,000 related to the LiveWatch Acquisition Contingent Bonuses, which are included in Selling, general and administrative expense in the consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive income (loss).

The table below represents the fair value of the assets and liabilities assumed in the LiveWatch Acquisition (dollars in thousands):

 
Cash
$
784

Trade receivables
273

Other current assets
706

Property and equipment
362

Subscriber accounts
24,900

Other intangible asset
1,300

Goodwill
36,047

Current liabilities
(6,810
)
Fair value of consideration transferred
$
57,562


The preliminary estimates of the fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed are based on available information as of the date of this report and may be revised as additional information becomes available, which primarily includes the finalization of the valuation of assets and liabilities acquired.

Goodwill in the amount of $36,047,000 was recognized in connection with the LiveWatch Acquisition and was calculated as the excess of the consideration transferred over the net assets recognized and represents the value to the Company for LiveWatch's recurring revenue and cash flow streams and its diversified business model and marketing channel. All of the goodwill acquired in the LiveWatch Acquisition is estimated to be deductible for tax purposes.

The subscriber accounts acquired in the LiveWatch Acquisition are amortized using the 14-year 235% declining balance method. The other intangible asset acquired, which represents LiveWatch's trademark asset, is amortized on a straight-line basis over its estimated useful life of 10 years.


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Table of Contents

The Company incurred $946,000 of legal and professional services expense and other costs related to the LiveWatch Acquisition, which are included in Selling, general and administrative expense in the condensed consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive income (loss).

The Company's results of operations for the period ended December 31, 2015 include the operations of LiveWatch from the Closing Date. The effect of the LiveWatch Acquisition was not material to the Company's consolidated results for the periods presented and, accordingly, proforma financial disclosures have not been presented.

Security Networks Acquisition

On August 16, 2013 (the "Closing Date"), the Company acquired all of the equity interests of Security Networks and certain affiliated entities.  The purchase price (the "Security Networks Purchase Price") of $500,557,000 consisted of $481,834,000 in cash and 253,333 shares of Ascent Capital’s Series A common stock, par value $0.01 per share, with a Closing Date fair value of $18,723,000.  The Security Networks Purchase Price includes post-closing adjustments of $1,057,000. The Company recognized goodwill of $177,289,000.
 

(5)    Property and Equipment
 
Property and equipment consist of the following (amounts in thousands):
 
As of December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
Property and equipment, net:
 

 
 

Buildings and leasehold improvements
$
1,222

 
$
3,359

Machinery and equipment
52,489

 
44,175

 
53,711

 
47,534

Accumulated depreciation
(27,057
)
 
(24,254
)
 
$
26,654

 
23,280

 
Depreciation expense for property and equipment was $10,066,000, $9,019,000 and $7,327,000 for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively.

(6)    Goodwill

The following table provides the activity and balances of goodwill (amounts in thousands):
Balance at December 31, 2013
$
527,502

Period activity

Balance at December 31, 2014
527,502

LiveWatch Acquisition
36,047

Balance at December 31, 2015
$
563,549


The Company accounts for its goodwill pursuant to the provisions of FASB ASC Topic 350, Intangibles - Goodwill and Other("FASB ASC Topic 350"). In accordance with FASB ASC Topic 350, goodwill is not amortized, but rather tested for impairment annually or if an event occurs, or circumstances change, that indicate the fair value of the entity may be below its carrying amount (a "triggering event"). In connection with the Company's annual goodwill impairment assessment, which is performed in the fourth quarter using October 31 balances, the Company did not record an impairment loss to goodwill.

As of December 31, 2015, the Company determined that a triggering event had occurred due to a sustained decrease in Ascent Capital's market capitalization. In response to the triggering event, the Company performed a goodwill impairment test in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 350 and determined that there was no impairment.

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Table of Contents

(7)          Other Accrued Liabilities
 
Other accrued liabilities consisted of the following (amounts in thousands): 
 
December 31, 2015
 
December 31, 2014
Interest payable
$
18,226

 
$
18,251

Income taxes payable
2,603

 
3,494

Legal accrual
145

 
222

Other
11,548

 
9,127

Total Other accrued liabilities
$
32,522

 
$
31,094


(8)          Long-Term Debt
 
Long-term debt consisted of the following (amounts in thousands):
 
December 31,
2015
 
December 31,
2014
9.125% Senior Notes due April 1, 2020 with an effective rate of 9.4%
$
576,241

 
$
574,517

9.868% Promissory Note to Ascent Capital due October 1, 2020
   with an effective rate of 9.868%
100,000

 
100,000

Term loans, mature March 23, 2018, LIBOR plus 3.25%, subject to a LIBOR floor of 1.00% with an effective rate of 5.0%
394,938

 
885,928

Term loans, mature April 9, 2022, LIBOR plus 3.5%, subject to a LIBOR floor of 1.00% with an effective interest rate of 5.1%
542,420

 

$315 million revolving credit facility, matures December 22, 2017, LIBOR plus 3.75%, subject to a LIBOR floor of 1.00% with an effective rate of 6.7%
131,048

 
68,345

 
1,744,647

 
1,628,790

Less current portion of long-term debt
(5,500
)
 
(9,166
)
Long-term debt
$
1,739,147

 
$
1,619,624


Senior Notes
 
On July 17, 2013, the Company closed on a $175,000,000 privately placed debt offering of 9.125% Senior Notes (the “New Senior Notes”).  In December 2013, the Company completed an exchange of the New Senior Notes for identical securities in a registered offering under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.
 
The New Senior Notes, together with the existing $410,000,000 of 9.125% Senior Notes due 2020 (collectively, the “Senior Notes”), total $585,000,000 in principal, mature on April 1, 2020 and bear interest at 9.125% per annum.  Interest payments are due semi-annually on April 1 and October 1 of each year. As of December 31, 2015, the senior notes had deferred financing costs, net of accumulated amortization of $8,760,000.
 
The Senior Notes are guaranteed by all of the Company’s existing domestic subsidiaries.  See note 19, Consolidating Guarantor Financial Information for further information. Ascent Capital has not guaranteed any of the Company’s obligations under the Senior Notes.
 
Ascent Intercompany Loan
 
On August 16, 2013, in connection with the Security Networks Acquisition, the Company executed and delivered a Promissory Note to Ascent Capital in a principal amount of $100,000,000 (the “Intercompany Loan”).  The entire principal amount under the Intercompany Loan is due on October 1, 2020.  The Company may prepay any portion of the balance of the Intercompany Loan at any time from time to time without fee, premium or penalty (subject to certain financial covenants associated with the Company’s other indebtedness).  Any unpaid balance of the Intercompany Loan bears interest at a rate equal to 9.868% per annum, payable semi-annually in cash in arrears on January 12 and July 12 of each year, commencing on January 12, 2014.  Borrowings under the Intercompany Loan constitute unsecured obligations of the Company and are not guaranteed by any of the Company’s subsidiaries.


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On February 29, 2016, the Board of Directors of Ascent Capital approved the contribution to the stated capital of the Company of $88,000,000 of the $100,000,000 outstanding principal amount under the Ascent Intercompany Loan. The remaining $12,000,000 principal amount will be reflected on an Amended and Restated Promissory Note, which is due on October 1, 2020 and will bear interest at a rate equal to 12.5% per annum, payable semi-annually in cash in arrears. See note 20, Subsequent Events for further information.
 
Credit Facility
 
On February 17, 2015, Monitronics entered into an amendment ("Amendment No. 4") with the lenders of its existing senior secured credit agreement dated March 23, 2012, and amended and restated on August 16, 2013, March 25, 2013 and November 7, 2012 (the "Existing Credit Agreement"). Amendment No. 4 provided for, among other things, the increased commitment under the revolving credit facility in a principal amount of $315,000,000.

On April 9, 2015, Monitronics entered into Amendment No. 5 ("Amendment No. 5") to its Existing Credit Agreement. Pursuant to Amendment No. 5, Monitronics completed the issuance of an incremental $550,000,000 senior secured Term Loan B offering at a 0.5% discount with a maturity date of April 9, 2022 (the "2022 Term Loans"). Monitronics use the net proceeds to retire approximately $492,000,000 of its existing term loans due March 2018 (the "2018 Term Loans") and repaid $49,900,000 of its revolving credit facility. Amendment No 5 (the Existing Agreement together with Amendment No. 4 and Amendment No. 5, the "Credit Facility") also incorporates certain covenant changes, including the removal of the third quarter 2015 step downs of the senior secured and total leverage ratios, both as defined in the Credit Facility.

The 2018 Term Loans bear interest at LIBOR plus 3.25%, subject to a LIBOR floor of 1.00%, and mature on March 23, 2018. Interest on the 2018 Term Loans are due quarterly with the principal due at maturity. The 2022 Term Loans bear interest at LIBOR plus 3.5%, subject to a LIBOR floor of 1.00% Principal payments of approximately $1,375,000 and interest on the term loans are due quarterly on the 2022 Term Loans. The Credit Facility revolver bears interest at LIBOR plus 3.75%, subject to a LIBOR floor of 1.00%, and matures on December 22, 2017. There is an annual commitment fee of 0.5% on unused portions of the Credit Facility revolver. As of December 31, 2015, $181,750,000 is available for borrowing under the revolving credit facility. As of December 31, 2015, the Company has deferred debt costs, net of accumulated amortization, of $9,058,000 related to the Credit Facility.

The Credit Facility is secured by a pledge of all of the outstanding stock of Monitronics and all of its existing subsidiaries and is guaranteed by all of Monitronics’ existing domestic subsidiaries. Ascent Capital has not guaranteed any of Monitronics’ obligations under the Credit Facility.

At any time after the occurrence of an event of default under the Credit Facility, the lenders may, among other options, declare any amounts outstanding under the Credit Facility immediately due and payable and terminate any commitment to make further loans under the Credit Facility. In addition, failure to comply with restrictions contained in the Senior Notes could lead to an event of default under the Credit Facility.

In order to reduce the financial risk related to changes in interest rates associated with the floating rate term loans under the Credit Facility term loans, Monitronics has entered into interest rate swap agreements with terms similar to the Credit Facility term loans (all outstanding interest rate swap agreements are collectively referred to as the “Swaps”). The Swaps have been designated as effective hedges of the Company’s variable rate debt and qualify for hedge accounting. As a result of these interest rate swaps, Monitronics' current effective weighted average interest rate on the borrowings under the Credit Facility term loans is 5.15%. See note 9, Derivatives, for further disclosures related to these derivative instruments. .

The terms of the Senior Notes and the Credit Facility provide for certain financial and nonfinancial covenants.  As of December 31, 2015, the Company was in compliance with all required covenants.
 

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Principal payments scheduled to be made on the Company’s debt obligations are as follows (amounts in thousands):
2016
$
5,500

2017
138,750

2018
409,284

2019
5,500

2020
690,500

2021
5,500

Thereafter
512,875

Total principal payments
1,767,909

Less:
 

Unamortized discounts, premium and deferred debt costs, net
23,262

Total debt on consolidated balance sheet
$
1,744,647


(9)           Derivatives
 
The Company utilizes interest rate swap agreements to reduce the interest rate risk inherent in the Company's variable rate Credit Facility term loans.  The valuation of these instruments is determined using widely accepted valuation techniques, including discounted cash flow analysis on the expected cash flows of each derivative. This analysis reflects the contractual terms of the derivatives, including the period to maturity, and uses observable market-based inputs, including interest rate curves and implied volatility. The Company incorporates credit valuation adjustments to appropriately reflect the respective counterparty’s nonperformance risk in the fair value measurements.  See note 10, Fair Value Measurements, for additional information about the credit valuation adjustments.

At December 31, 2015, derivative financial instruments include seven interest rate swaps with a fair value $13,470,000, that constitute a liability of the Company.  At December 31, 2014, derivative financial instruments include one interest rate swap with a fair value of $1,123,000, that constitute an asset of the Company and three interest rate swaps with a fair value $5,780,000 that constitute a liability of the Company.   The Swaps are included in other assets, net and derivative financial instruments on the consolidated balance sheets. As of December 31, 2015 and 2014 no amounts were offset for certain derivatives' fair value that were recognized under a master netting agreement with the same counterparty.
 
The objective of the swap derivative instruments was to reduce the risk associated with the Company's term loan variable interest rates.  In effect, the swap derivative instruments convert variable interest rates into fixed interest rates on the Company’s term loan borrowings. 

All of the Swaps are designated and qualify as cash flow hedging instruments, with the effective portion of the Swaps' change in fair value recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss).  Any ineffective portions of the Swaps' change in fair value are recognized in current earnings in interest expense.  Changes in the fair value of the Swaps recognized in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) are reclassified to Interest expense when the hedged interest payments on the underlying debt are recognized.  Amounts in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) expected to be recognized in Interest expense in the coming 12 months total approximately $7,092,000.


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The Swaps’ outstanding notional balance as of December 31, 2015 and terms are noted below:
Notional
 
Effective Date
 
Maturity Date
 
Fixed
Rate Paid
 
Variable Rate Received
$
529,375,000

 
March 28, 2013
 
March 23, 2018
 
1.884%
 
3 mo. USD-LIBOR-BBA, subject to a 1.00% floor (a)
140,287,500

 
March 28, 2013
 
March 23, 2018
 
1.384%
 
3 mo. USD-LIBOR-BBA, subject to a 1.00% floor (a)
109,673,367

 
September 30, 2013
 
March 23, 2018
 
1.959%
 
3 mo. USD-LIBOR-BBA, subject to a 1.00% floor
109,673,367

 
September 30, 2013
 
March 23, 2018
 
1.850%
 
3 mo. USD-LIBOR-BBA, subject to a 1.00% floor
191,475,002

 
March 23, 2018
 
April 9, 2022
 
2.924%
 
3 mo. USD-LIBOR-BBA, subject to a 1.00% floor
250,000,000

 
March 23, 2018
 
April 9, 2022
 
2.810%
 
3 mo. USD-LIBOR-BBA, subject to a 1.00% floor
50,000,000

 
March 23, 2018
 
April 9, 2022
 
2.504%
 
3 mo. USD-LIBOR-BBA, subject to a 1.00% floor
 
(a) 
On March 25, 2013, the Company negotiated amendments to the terms of these interest rate swap agreements, which were entered into in March 2012 (the "Existing Swap Agreements") (as amended, the “Amended Swaps”).  The Amended Swaps are held with the same counterparties as the Existing Swap Agreements.  Upon entering into the Amended Swaps, the Company simultaneously dedesignated the Existing Swap Agreements and redesignated the Amended Swaps as cash flow hedges for the underlying change in the swap terms.  The amounts previously recognized in accumulated other comprehensive (loss) relating to the dedesignation are recognized in Interest expense over the remaining life of the Amended Swaps.
 
The impact of the derivatives designated as cash flow hedges on the consolidated financial statements is depicted below (amounts in thousands):
 
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Effective portion of gain (loss) recognized in Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)
 
$
(16,041
)
 
(12,560
)
 
7,014

Effective portion of loss reclassified from Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) into Net loss (a)
 
$
(7,300
)
 
(7,681
)
 
(5,303
)
Ineffective portion of amount of gain (loss) recognized into Net loss on interest rate swaps (a)
 
$
(119
)
 
(46
)
 
24

 
(a)         Amounts are included in Interest expense in the consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive income (loss).

(10)                             Fair Value Measurements
 
According to the Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures Topic of the Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification, fair value is defined as the amount that would be received for selling an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants and requires that assets and liabilities carried at fair value are classified and disclosed in the following three categories:

Level 1 - Quoted prices for identical instruments in active markets. 
Level 2 - Quoted prices for similar instruments in active or inactive markets and valuations derived from models where all significant inputs are observable in active markets.
Level 3 - Valuations derived from valuation techniques in which one or more significant inputs are unobservable in any market.
 

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The following summarizes the fair value level of assets and liabilities that are measured on a recurring basis at December 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014 (amounts in thousands): 
 
Level 1
 
Level 2
 
Level 3
 
Total
December 31, 2015
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Derivative financial instruments - liabilities

 
(13,470
)
 

 
(13,470
)
Total
$

 
(13,470
)
 

 
(13,470
)
December 31, 2014
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Derivative financial instruments - assets (a)
$

 
1,123

 

 
1,123

Derivative financial instruments - liabilities

 
(5,780
)
 

 
(5,780
)
Total
$

 
(4,657
)
 

 
(4,657
)
 
(a)
Included in Other assets, net on the consolidated balance sheets.
 
The Company has determined that the majority of the inputs used to value the Swaps fall within Level 2 of the fair value hierarchy.  As a result, the Company has determined that its derivative valuations are classified in Level 2 of the fair value hierarchy.
 
Carrying values and fair values of financial instruments that are not carried at fair value are as follows (amounts in thousands):
 
December 31, 2015
 
December 31, 2014
Long term debt, including current portion:
 

 
 

Carrying value
$
1,744,647

 
$
1,628,790

Fair value (a)
1,603,375

 
1,605,255

 
(a)
T he fair value is based on valuations from third party financial institutions and is classified as Level 2 in the hierarchy.
 
The Company’s other financial instruments, including cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable and accounts payable are carried at cost, which approximates their fair value because of their short-term maturity.
 
(11)           Restructuring Charges
 
In connection with the Security Networks Acquisition, management approved a restructuring plan to transition Security Networks’ operations in West Palm Beach and Kissimmee, Florida to Dallas, Texas (the "2013 Restructuring Plan").  The 2013 Restructuring Plan provided certain Security Networks' employees with a severance package that entitled them to receive benefits upon completion of the transition in 2014.  Severance costs related to the 2013 Restructuring Plan were recognized ratably over the future service period.  No restructuring charges were recognized during 2015. During the years ended December 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013, the Company recognized $952,000 and $1,111,000, respectively of restructuring charges related to employee termination benefits under the 2013 Restructuring Plan. The transition of Security Networks' operations to Dallas was completed in the second quarter of 2014.


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The following tables provide the activity and balances of the Company’s restructuring plan (amounts in thousands):
 
December 31, 2014
 
Additions
 
Payments
 
Other
 
December 31, 2015
2013 Restructuring Plan