Press release
01 Aug 2022 

Investing in their customers, people and purpose are top priorities for media and entertainment leaders

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  • 82% say they have clarity on the opportunities and threats facing their companies and the media and entertainment industry
  • 70% are targeting new customer revenue streams with fresh offerings to strengthen relationships and reduce subscription churn
  • 67% say investing in people and growing a purpose-driven culture (68%) are key objectives

More than 8 in 10 (82%) of media and entertainment (M&E) executives surveyed have clarity on the opportunities and threats facing their companies and the industry, according to a new Ernst & Young LLP ( EY US) survey and report, “ If disruption persists, can M&E companies remain steadfast?” In fact, only 14% of leaders see an existential risk on the horizon compared to 45% last year. This new outlook can be attributed to bold actions taken by management teams in response to both industry disruption and the shock created from the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite this increasingly positive outlook, 64% of M&E executives say that they need to better define and articulate how they deliver value to customers, employees and stakeholders. The survey also reveals that while businesses know they must become customer-centric to survive, nearly 40% report that they lack a deep understanding of their customers, complicating innovation and business development. To remain successful, executives are realigning corporate strategies, resetting capital agendas, modernizing systems and investing in people.

John Harrison, EY Americas Media & Entertainment Leader, says: “M&E leaders have weathered significant change over the past two years and are now armed with a new set of priorities. However, success amid ongoing macro uncertainty and industry fluctuations — from the streaming revolution to the emergence of exciting new technology that promises to change consumer habits once again — will require a nimble strategy, smart investments and ongoing recalibration of font- and back-office operations.”

Innovation and customer-centricity will power growth

For example, broadcast and cable network owners have aggressively moved into the direct-to-consumer space to appeal to “cord nevers.” Initiatives are underway at many companies to explore the opportunities related to the emerging metaverse, Web3 and offerings enabled by blockchain, such as non-fungible tokens.

More than 65% of respondents say that they are prioritizing investments in services, such as mobile gaming that is enabled by 5G; deploying content recommendation engines infused with artificial intelligence to improve the customer experience; and moving programming distribution to the cloud to establish seamless delivery.

Challenges to innovation and transformation

M&E industry leaders are facing gaps in areas critical to realizing the future potential of their companies, according to the survey. More than 4 in 10 (41%) of executives believe that their strategic and operational agendas are burdened by legacy systems that do not produce actionable business intelligence or insights.

To simply modernize systems and upgrade processes is not enough — executives say that they need a workforce with the right skills to analyze and interpret the avalanche of data available to M&E companies today. Over a third (36%) of M&E executives believe their organizations lack the skills and analytical capabilities to turn data into insights. And more broadly, half (50%) of industry leaders say they need to improve training to boost the skills of employees to match the needs of the business.

Purpose and talent also stood out as key areas of focus for M&E executives. Nearly 70% said that investing in people and growing a purpose-driven culture are top priorities for them.

This report is available at:  If disruption persists, can M&E companies remain steadfast?

Survey methodology

In early 2022, EY surveyed 150 executives from US media and entertainment companies for the Evolution of the Media & Entertainment Industry report. The companies represent annual revenues ranging from $100 million into the billions and cover the entire media and entertainment industry — from networks and advertising agencies to game publishers, live entertainment, MVPDs and professional media providers. Respondents include C-suite members, directors, senior VPs, heads of strategy and board members.

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