UK music and entertainment sales overtake print for first time

Headphones - Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

The streaming boom has seen entertainment sales overtake books, magazines and newspapers for the first time, according to figures published by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).

The British public spent more money on music, video and games in 2017 than on books, magazines and newspapers – ‘the first time in history that revenues from entertainment exceeded those of the printed word.’

A total of £7.2bn was spent on music, video and games in 2017 compared with £7.1bn on books, magazines and newspapers – down on its 2007 peak of £8.3bn.

The research, prepared by the Leisure Industries Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, found that the growth of digital services including Spotify, Amazon and Deezer were the key drivers behind the increase.

ERA Chief Executive Officer Kim Bayley said: ‘It is an extraordinary testament to the appeal and resonance of digital entertainment services that they have helped home entertainment to hit this milestone nearly 550 years since the invention of the printing press.

‘The success of the UK entertainment market is ultimately the result of collaboration between the creatives, studios and labels who produce compelling content and the retailers and services who bring it to the public.’

Dr Themis Kokolakakis from the Leisure Industries Research Centre added: ‘The 2008-2009 recession hurt both the entertainment and reading markets. Since 2012, the entertainment market has recovered very strongly producing record 2017 results.

‘Traditional media is under pressure, partly because of the growth of streaming services, partly because there is so much competition for people’s time and attention. Entertainment has grown while reading has stagnated.’

As well as tracking digital growth, the figures showed a notable increase of physical formats including vinyl, with sales up 34 percent to £87.7m.

Bayley commented: ‘Digital services may be grabbing the headlines, but physical retailers continue to identify new opportunities to showcase and drive sales of discs.

‘Vinyl is a prime example of retailers nurturing demand for a product most people had long written off.  It would be foolish to underestimate the consumers continuing affection for physical product.’