Digital streaming services drive record entertainment sales

Sales of video, music and games jumped to an all-time high last year as Netflix and Amazon Prime drove rapid growth in digital streaming, according to new figures.

UK entertainment sales rose by 2.4% to £7.8 billion in 2019, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).

Digital streaming pushed growth over the year, with the category now representing a record 81.8% of the overall entertainment market.

The data, published in the ERA’s annual yearbook, revealed the fastest growing sector was video, which saw sales increase in value by 9.5% to £2.61 billion.

It said the growth of digital subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime was key to this, with digital video revenues rising 21.5% to £2.1 billion in 2019.

Almost half of the UK population (49.9%) subscribe to video streaming services, the ERA said.

Streaming also drove growth in the music market, which saw total revenues increase by 7.1% to £1.4 billion.

Music streaming revenues increased by 23.5% to £1 billion over the year as it was boosted by subscription services such as Spotify.

However, digital gaming faltered for the first time in 2019 with growth of just 1.1%, but at £3.17bn the total digital gaming market remains vast.

Bohemian Rhapsody World Premiere – London
Bohemian Rhapsody World Premiere – London

Despite pressure on physical format sales again in 2019, many of the biggest hits of the year owed their success to physical sales.

The top-selling video of the year, Bohemian Rhapsody, sold 67.2% of its 1.7 million sales on physical formats, including 941,166 DVDs.

Kim Bayley, chief of ERA, said: “The internet now accounts for 90p in every pound spent on entertainment.

“It is quite simply the most dramatic revolution in entertainment retailing ever seen.

“Physical entertainment still amounted to a £1.4bn market in 2019. It is certainly down, but it is far bigger than many appreciate and still offers benefits in terms of gifting, collectability and permanence which streaming cannot match.”