Far-reaching changes to the media and entertainment industry have caused around a third (34%) of executives working in the sector to fear that their company will no longer exist within five years unless they reinvent their business.

Furthermore, half of them say they can no longer rely on traditional models, while more than a quarter (28%) acknowledge that their business must change – but are unsure what to prioritise.

These are some of the key findings from a new global survey of 358 media and entertainment executives conducted by Ernst & Young (EY), the professional services firm, across North America, Europe and Asia.

The study entitled How are media and entertainment businesses reinventing in an age of transformation? explores the challenges facing the industry over the next five years and what executives think needs to be done to meet them.

And it reveals that there is no single route to reinvention, but businesses can succeed by prioritising three key levers of change: operational excellence, innovation and upskilling talent.

For example, the survey respondents identify operating model change (41%) and operational delivery and execution (39%) as their top transformation priorities.

More than half (55%) say that simplifying and consolidating internal segments to streamline the business should be a priority, while 52% point to a need to de-layer management structures.

And they also view the effective use of data as a way of achieving operational change, with almost two-thirds (62%) citing the increased availability of data as an opportunity for transformation. Significantly, building first-party data is a priority for 56% of executives compared to just 13% who prioritise third-party data sources.

“Making the most of data that resides across the enterprise is one of the most crucial tactics for realising positive change – particularly in helping businesses to compete by improving the customer experience,” noted John Harrison, EY’s media and entertainment sector lead.

Finally, turning to the need to improve skills, a third (33%) of all executives identify closing the talent gap and building skills as a driver of change, rising to 43% and 42% among publishing and advertising executives respectively. Also, nearly a quarter (24%) see the talent gap as a threat, while 30% list it among the biggest barriers to innovation.

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

Sourced from EY; additional content by WARC staff