Press release

8 Jan 2020 London, GB

EY survey: media and entertainment companies say they must reinvent to survive the next five years

LAS VEGAS, 8 JANUARY 2020. Over a third (34%) of media and entertainment (M&E) executives admit that their company will no longer exist in five years unless their business undergoes reinvention.

Press contact
Michael Curtis

EY Global Industry Markets Media Relations & Social Media Leader

Leader in brand building and corporate positioning. Music enthusiast and passionate storyteller.

Related topics Technology
  • 50% believe they can no longer rely on traditional business models
  • 28% admit their business needs to reinvigorate, but are unsure what to prioritize
  • 63% of those embarking on change say optimizing the operating model will be truly transformational


Over a third (34%) of media and entertainment (M&E) executives admit that their company will no longer exist in five years unless their business undergoes reinvention. This is according to a new EY survey, "How are media and entertainment businesses reinventing in an age of transformation?", which analyzes the views of more than 350 global industry executives to reveal the catalysts, strategies and actions that are shaping business transformation.

Faced with multiple evolving and disruptive forces, 50% of executives say they can no longer rely on traditional business models if they are to succeed in this landscape. The survey further highlights a sense of inertia among many M&E businesses, with more than one in four (28%) indicating they need to reinvigorate their business, but that they don’t know what to prioritize.

John Harrison, EY Global Media & Entertainment Sector Leader, says:

“Media and entertainment companies remain upbeat about change. But with such diversity of business models and revenue streams, the starting point is often unclear. The survey reveals that there is no single path to reinvention, but businesses can succeed by prioritizing three key levers of change: operational excellence, innovation and upskilling talent. Embracing these ambitions can help them address short-term challenges and unlock long-term value creation.”

The survey also unearths the three biggest drivers of change across M&E industry subsectors: responding to a shifting competitive landscape, which could lead to pressure on profitability; struggling to keep pace with technology as businesses evaluate digital innovations, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G; and challenges associated with changing customer expectations, which is impacting the uptake of products and services.

Pursuing operational excellence is the industry’s top transformation ambition

Executives identify operating model change (41%) and operational delivery and execution (39%) as their top transformation priorities. Simplifying the enterprise emerges as a key theme in driving the next generation M&E operating model, with 55% of all executives indicating that they want to streamline their business by consolidating internal segments.

The survey further reveals how businesses are using data to achieve operational change. Almost two-thirds (62%) of respondents see the increasing availability of data as an opportunity for transformation. Notably, 56% of executives indicate that they prioritize building first-party data, compared with just 13% who prioritize third-party sources.

Harrison says: “The evolving nature of revenue generation, combined with pressure to release capital to fund growth, is leading companies to reevaluate transformation goals and how they respond to shifting customer demands. Making the most of data that resides across the enterprise is one of the most crucial tactics for realizing positive change — particularly in helping businesses to compete by improving the customer experience.”

Workforce transformation is key to achieving strategic goals

With four generations coexisting across the workforce — Boomers, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z — the survey highlights the growing imperative to foster continuous learning. A third (33%) of all executives identify the need to close the talent gap and build skills as a driver of change, rising to 43% and 42% among publishing and advertising executives respectively. Nearly a quarter (24%) see the talent gap as a threat, while 30% list it among the biggest barriers to innovation.

Harrison says: “The need for digital skill sets is now the norm among media and entertainment companies, but changing technology continues to shift expectations. To remain relevant, workers need to migrate up the value chain, reinventing themselves and continually improving their capabilities.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Only 20% cite corporate strategy and their CEO’s vision as a leading innovation driver.
  • 46% say automation is the single most important tactic for achieving cost savings.
  • 49% prioritize upskilling the existing workforce as the best way to develop talent.
  • Subsector priorities vary: 56% of advertising and marketing companies say evolution of the product or service offering is a priority, falling to 15% among production companies.


Notes to Editors
About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. Information about how EY collects and uses personal data and a description of the rights individuals have under data protection legislation are available via For more information about our organization, please visit

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

About the study

How are media and entertainment businesses reinventing in an age of transformation? is based on a survey of more than 350 media and entertainment executives, taking a representative view of companies by scale, geography and industry subsector. For each question and unless otherwise stated, executives were asked to select their top three responses from a predefined list of options. For example, a response of 50% means it was selected as one of the top three answers by half of respondents. More details about the demographics of the executives who participated are available in the appendix. To read the survey in full, and for the latest insights from across EY Technology, Media & Entertainment and Telecommunications (TMT), visit