An executive producer (EP) enables the making of a commercial entertainment product. The EP may be concerned with management accounting or with associated legal issues (like copyrights or royalties). An EP generally contributes to the film's budget and may or may not work on set.
In motion pictures, an executive producer has a financial or creative task, but does not contribute to the technical aspects of filmmaking. The responsibilities of executive producers vary from funding or attracting investors into the movie project to legal, scripting, marketing, advisory and supervising capacities.
The crediting of executive producers in the film industry has risen over time. In the mid-to-late 1990s, there were an average of just under two executive producers per film. In 2000, the number jumped to 2.5 (more than the number of standard ‘producers’). In 2013, there were an average of 4.4 executive producers per film, compared with 3.2 standard ‘producers’.
In television, an executive producer often supervises the creative content as well as the financial aspects of a production. Some writers (for example Stephen J. Cannell and Tina Fey) have been the creator and also the producer of the same TV show. There may be more than one executive producer working on a TV show where there can be one among them who outranks the others. This position is known as the showrunner, or operational executive producer.
In recorded music, record labels distinguish between an executive producer and a record producer. The executive producer is responsible for business decisions and more recently, organizing the recordings along with the music producer, whereas the record producer produces the music. Sometimes the executive producer will enable the creative visions of featured artists by managing where and when to record, selection and employment of sound engineers or session musicians, et al.
In the video game industry, the title "executive producer" is not well-defined. It may refer to an external producer, from the publisher, who works with the developers. In 2012 Jay-Z was announced as executive producer for NBA 2K13. As such he appeared in an introduction, picked songs for the game's soundtrack and contributed to the design of its in-game menus "and other visual elements".