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Entertainment in the UK scores its best year

MUMBAISurging digital revenues pushed the UK’s combined games, video and music markets to an all-time high of £6.1 billion in 2015, finally shrugging off a decade of decline, according to latest figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) based on data from the Official Charts Company (music, video) and GfK Chart-track (videogames).

Entertainment sales reached £6.04 billion in 2004, but that peak was then followed by years of decline, hitting a low point of £5.2 billion in 2012 in the face of the impact of the internet and the closure of High Street names like Woolworths, Our Price and Virgin. 

Latest figures, however, suggest that substantial investment by new digital retailers and services is finally helping the industry turn the corner.

 All three entertainment sectors registered growth last year with video up by 1.5 per cent, music up by 3.5 per cent  and games up a striking 10 per cent. 

In each sector, it was digital services driving the growth: 

·        In music, streaming services such as Spotify, Google Play Music, Apple Music, Deezer and Amazon Prime Music increased sales by nearly 50 per cent to £251 million over the year; 

·        In video, digital revenues from services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime and Sky Store exceeded £1 billion for the first time, making it almost certain that video will become a majority-digital business in 2016;

 ·        And in games digital revenues from online and mobile services – which are more than those of music and video put together – grew by 17 per cent to £1.9 billion.

 Digital services, many of them developed by ERA members, now account for nearly 60 per cent of entertainment revenues in the UK. 

ERA CEO Kim Bayley said, “Ten years ago the entertainment business was on the edge of a precipice. Piracy was rampant and there were few legal alternatives. Thanks to huge investments by the likes of Apple and Steam and Netflix and Spotify, there has been a significant turnaround. From indie record stores to video on demand, from High Street chains to streaming services, internet retail and supermarkets, there has never been such a wide variety of ways for people to get the music, video and games they want.”  

Discs have a good year as vinyl booms and console games show growth 

While digital generated most growth in 2015, established disc-based formats remained the formats of choice for millions. Vinyl album sales continued their relentless surge up 65 per cent on 2014 to £42 million, but remain a niche taste, accounting for just six per cent of the album market. Strikingly, console software driven by the Xbox One and PS4 platforms more than held its own in the face of booming growth in digital games, showing an increase of 1.6 per cent to £866 million in 2015. 

Meanwhile, the compact disc – launched in 1982 – enjoyed its best year in a decade declining just 3.7 per cent and generating sales of £468 million. Compact discs are proving much more resilient than music downloads, the format which was tipped to replace them and which is now clearly well off its 2013 peak, declining in value 13 per cent to less than £300 million in 2015. 

Bayley said, “It is clearly way too soon to write off the CD or other disc-based formats. Hopefully we have now all learned the lesson of the vinyl LP that older formats can happily co-exist with newer ways of enjoying entertainment. The fact is that different formats provide different benefits to different groups of entertainment fans. That diversity is proving to be the entertainment market’s  greatest strength.” Description: Era Ent Monitor

 Music: Physical / Digital – The Official Charts Company. Streaming (subscription only) – BPI.

Video: Physical – The Official Charts Company / BVA. Digital – IHS estimates (including EST, TV-VoD, web-based VoD and sVoD services).

Games: Physical – GfK Chart Track. Digital – IHS estimates (including digital online, mobile and tablet gaming).

 Adele’s 25 pips FIFA 16 to become hit of the year

 The biggest entertainment hit of the year was Adele’s 25, released on November 20, which sold just over 2.6 million copies in the six weeks to the end of the year.

 It narrowly beat gaming perennial,FIFA 16, whose latest edition released in September sold 2.5 million copies. 

Overall, the Top 20 entertainment titles included six music titles, five games and nine videos, led by Paddington. 

Description: Era Entertainment Chart