The popularity of digital services such as Netflix and Spotify meant the UK’s entertainment industry returned to growth after five years of decline in 2013.
Revenues from music, video and computer games rose 4pc last year to £5.4bn, the highest since 2009, according to figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).
This was largely down to a surge in spending on digital video services such as iTunes, Netflix and Lovefilm; and the success of blockbuster video games including Grand Theft Auto V and Fifa 14.
Digital sales of games were higher than physical sales. This is the first time this has happened in any of the three categories.
Interactive chart: Entertainment sales return to growth
Sales of games rose 6.6pc and video was up 3.7pc, although music declined slightly, down 0.5pc. Physical sales of all three fell, while digital revenues rose sharply. The decline in music revenues was pinned on the lack of a blockbuster album release. The biggest selling album of 2013 was One Direction’s Midnight Memories, which sold just 715,000 copies. In comparison 2012′s biggest seller was Emeli Sande’s Our Version of Events at 1.4m and 2011′s most popular album was Adele’s 21, which sold 3.9m. No musical product made the top 20, apart from two Now That’s What I Call Music (Now TWICM) compilations. This was a disappointing performance for the music industry, which grew for the first time since 1999 in 2012. Interactive chart: Top 10 selling titles Kim Bayley, the ERA’s director general, said 2013 was the first growth for entertainment retailers after five years of shrinking sales, and that it was the best set of figures since 2009. “This is a stunning result after at least five years of decline. Retailers have invested hundreds of millions of pounds in new digital services and these numbers suggest the public is responding in their droves,” she said. “New technologies have historically presented challenges to the entertainment business, but these results show how our members are helping music, video and games companies find new markets.” Digital video grew by 40.2pc, music streaming was up 33.7pc and digital game sales were up by 16.4pc. Physical sales of music, video and games fell by 7.6pc, 6.8pc and 2.9pc respectively, although one bright spot for physical sales was vinyl, revenue from which doubled. At £103.1m, music streaming services such as Spotify accounted for 10pc of total music revenues, compared to 7pc last year. The best selling film was James Bond’s Skyfall, and the most popular television boxset was the second season of Game of Thrones.