British consumers spent a record high of almost £ 10 billion on home entertainment last year as the pandemic continued to fuel a boom in streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify.
This included a “miracle” increase in revenue from sales of physical music formats after two decades of seemingly inexorable decline, helped by hungry live concert fans spending their extra cash on vinyl.
Overall entertainment spending, which covers digital and physical video, music and games – including sales of CDs, DVDs, and video games – rose 4.6% last year to $ 9.7 billion. pound sterling.
The numbers, which were inflated by the growth of streaming TV and music subscription services, defied expectations of a dip after entertainment spending in 2020 grew at the fastest pace in a quarter century.
James Bond: No Time to Die was the best-selling video content of the year, with Bond fans collecting three times as many copies as the next hottest entry. The latest edition of the Fifa football title once again topped the video game charts, while Adele’s 30 was the most popular album.
“The entire industry had prepared for revenue to stabilize in 2021 after 2020 grew 18.7%, but growth continued for the ninth year in a row,” said Kim Bayley, Managing Director General of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), which publishes the annual report.
“The vast majority of growth is driven by digital services which make entertainment more accessible and convenient than ever. “
The numbers highlight the scale of the drastic shift towards internet-based services, from subscribing to a service like Netflix or Spotify to buying or renting a game, movie or music. a box set on Apple’s Sky Store or iTunes, with nearly 90% of the total entertainment. spend now on digital services.
Total digital revenue rose 8.3% to £ 8.66 billion, more than the value of the overall market just two years ago. By comparison, overall physical income fell 18.5% to just over £ 1 billion.
However, ERA said that in this decline, music fans have performed a “miracle”, with physical music sales showing growth for the first time since 2001.
Sales of physical music rose 7.3% to £ 291.5million thanks to the continued boom in popularity of vinyl, which was spurred by fans spending their money to store their music collections in due to the lack of concerts and concerts.
Revenue from vinyl album sales rose 23% to £ 135.6million, while CD sales continued to decline 3.9% to £ 150million. “The return of physical music sales to growth for the full two decades since they began to decline is nothing short of a miracle,” Bayley said.
However, the music industry remains digitally dominated with revenue from subscriptions to services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music climbing 11% to £ 1.3 billion. This was more than the total value of the UK recorded music industry in 2018 and accounted for 80% of the £ 1.67bn total.
Adele produced the most popular album of the year with total sales of 600,000 copies, followed by Ed Sheeran, which sold 432,000 copies.
In the video market, subscription streaming service spending, led by Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video and Disney +, increased 28% year-on-year to £ 3.16 billion. Overall, digital revenue accounted for 93% of the total £ 3.75 billion video market, which grew 13% in 2021.
However, the lack of blockbuster theatrical releases over the past year has significantly affected revenue from subsequent DVD sales as well as digital ownership and rentals of services such as Apple’s iTunes and Sky Store.
Overall DVD sales revenue fell 40% to £ 150million, while Blu-ray disc revenue fell by a fifth to £ 85.7million and digital rental and ownership fell 28% to £ 336million.
Nonetheless, Bondmania generated 1.1 million No Time To Die sales, including renting and buying or downloading a physical or digital copy, more than the rest of the top five sales combined.
“The reopening of theaters and the large backlog of Hollywood blockbusters means we can expect further growth in ownership formats this year,” Bayley said.
In games, which was the largest sector in the entertainment industry at £ 4.28 billion, revenue fell 3.3% in 2021, after hitting an all-time high in 2020 sales with growth by 18%.
ERA said a key factor in the decline was also the global semiconductor shortage, which had kept gamers from getting their hands on the latest PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
The only segment to show growth last year was mobile and tablet games, which grew 8% year-on-year to £ 1.5 billion. Fifa 22, the best-selling game of the year, sold 917,000 physical units and 1.3 million digitally.