Video up 20% as UK digital downloads break £1BN barrier

Joseph O'Halloran | 03-01-2013

Itís been a digital 2012 as official year-end figures released by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) has found that digital sales of music, video and games grew by 11.4% over 2011 to £1.033 billion.

This meant that the digital sector now accounts for a quarter of the combined entertainment market and drilling down the survey from the trade association for entertainment retailers also revealed the video sector growing most rapidly at 20.3% even though this rate, said the analyst, reflected the relatively undeveloped nature of the market. Indeed digital video sales totalled £97.9 million compared with £383 million and £552 million from the more established digital music and games industries respectively.

What ERA described as Ďsurgingí sales of digital formats were not enough to prevent the entertainment market overall from decline. Combined sales of music, video and videogames were down 12% to £4.21 billion with the biggest fall suffered by videogames, down 17.4%.

Even though physical still retains a dominant share of the entertainment market, physical music sales (mainly CD) were down 14.9% in 2012, physical video (DVD and Blu-ray) down 11.4% and videogames (mainly console games) down 26.4%. In the video arena, physical sales in 2012 represented 93.9% of all sales, down on 2011ís 95.4%.

Commenting on the survey, ERA Director General Kim Bayley said: "Breaching the £1 billion barrier is an incredible achievement for the UK's digital entertainment retailers and reflects their huge investment in new and innovative services which means you can buy music, video and games literally at any time of the day and wherever you areÖThe combination of a myriad of exciting new devices and compelling new digital retailing services is clearly exciting consumers. What is most striking is that these figures do not even include the impact of streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, We7 and Rdio, for whom full market value data is not yet available."

Yet going forward the director warned that the entertainment industry overall faces tough times and that suppliers needed to ensure that a compellingrelease slateof content was available throughout the year and not just in the final quarter.