The media and entertainment industry has moved past the economic uncertainty of the global recession.

It’s now focusing on growth instead of on cutting costs, says EY’s survey of global entertainment CFOs, which adds media executives are well-positioned to grow their companies through investments in technology, digital talent and infrastructure.

As well, only 26% of those surveyed say global economic uncertainty will pose a challenge over the next three years, compared to 62% of those surveyed two years ago.

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“The industry is poised to deliver on the promises it has been making [over] the past several years…CFOs recognize it’s show time,” says John Nendick, global media & entertainment leader at EY.

Still, the industry will continue to face hurdles: more than half of CFOs (58%) conceded they’re worried about finding ways to persuade consumers to pay fair value for content, while another 42% say regulatory uncertainty poses a challenge.

Read: Biz owners predict slow but steady growth

Additional survey highlights

  • Top priorities for companies in 2014 are the evolution of digital and online distribution (74%), cost reduction and business efficiencies (34%), creatively differentiating content (32%), extending brands globally (32%) and growth in new market segments (30%)
  • Emerging markets are no longer the top geographic focus for growth, given 72% of media companies indicate their focus is on existing, core markets
  • Seventy-two percent of CFOs chose interactive media businesses as being best positioned to evolve and thrive in the future, followed by cable television networks and channels (42%), conglomerates (36%), film and television production (30%) and content and information services (30%)
  • The top actions identified to make companies more effective are attracting/retaining talent (58%), improved IT capabilities (42%), deeper understanding of market trends, customers and competitors (38%) and getting new products to market faster (30%)
  • CFOs prefer M&A deals that give them either complete or majority ownership (61%) over those that offer minority interest (34%)
  • The average deal value during the first half of 2014 was US$939M, compared with US$220M in 2013 and US$157M in 2012

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