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Lockdown streaming drives entertainment sales to £9bn – and fastest growth rate since records began



Video streaming and downloads up nearly 40%

Games market exceeds £4bn for the first time

 Music scores best result since 2006

Locked down Britain turned to digital music, video and games in record numbers in 2020, increasing entertainment revenues by 16.8% to a record £9.05bn, according to preliminary data compiled by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA). 

It was the fastest growth rate since records began, driven above all by digital services, who saw revenues increase by £1.4bn over 2019 to a new high of £7.8bn.

Digital video services spearheaded by Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video increased revenues by a remarkable 37.7% over 2019 while growing music streaming subscriptions saw recorded music revenues score their best result since 2006. Gaming comfortably retained its lead as the largest of the three sectors, generating sales of more than £4bn for the first time.

Overall more than 80 pence in the pound spent on entertainment now goes to digital services rather than physical formats. Amid generally declining physical formats, vinyl LPs remain the shining exception, increasing sales by 13.3%.

ERA CEO Kim Bayley said, “If there was ever a year in which we needed entertainment, it was 2020. The trend towards an increasingly digital entertainment market may be long established, but no one could have foreseen this dramatic leap as digital services filled the gap left by shuttered cinemas, concert halls and retail stores. With much of the country shut down, ERA’s members provided a welcome revenue stream for thousands of musicians, actors, directors and countless backroom staff.”

 

UK CONSUMER SPENDING ON ENTERTAINMENT 2020 
- PRELIMINARY FIGURES (£m)

 

 

2019

2020

% change

Music

Physical

£318.1

£271.6

-14.6%

 

Downloads

£89.7

£72.2

-19.5%

 

Streaming

£1,045.8

£1,208.2

15.5%

 

Total Music

£1,453.7

£1,552.0

6.8%

 

 

 

 

 

Video

Physical Retail

£477.2

£355.7

-25.5%

 

Physical Rental

£23.4

£16.9

-27.6%

 

Digital

£2,110.0

£2,906.4

37.7%

 

Total Video

£2,610.6

£3,279.1

25.6%

 

 

 

 

 

Games

Physical

£572.3

£598.5

4.6%

 

Digital

£3,115.4

£3,622.2

16.3%

 

Total Games

£3,687.7

£4,220.7

14.5%

 

 

 

 

 

Total Entertainment

Physical

£1,391.0

£1,242.7

-10.7%

 

Digital (inc streaming)

£6,360.9

£7,809.0

22.8%

 

Total Entertainment

£7,751.9

£9,051.8

16.8%

 

Sources:

Music: Physical / Digital - The Official Charts Company. Streaming (subscription only) estimates ERA / BPI

Video: Physical - The Official Charts Company / BASE. Digital - Futuresource Consulting estimates of transactional digital video including EST (Electronic Sell-Through) Movies & TV, iVoD (online digital rental) and Pay-TV VoD (digital rental via Pay-TV providers to a STB). Adult & PPV sports are excluded. SVoD (Subscription video on demand): Online subscription streaming services such as Netflix and an allocation of Amazon Prime revenue. No PVoD.

Games: Physical – GSD Data provided by ISFE. Digital - Omdia estimates (including digital online, mobile and tablet gaming).

 

Video streaming and downloads up nearly 40%

The digital video market grew by 37.7% in 2020 to £2.9bn as viewers flocked to services from the likes of Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Sky’s Now TV and Apple TV+.

While the figure includes digital rental and downloads, more than 80% of the total was taken by streaming services.

In contrast, with lockdown leading to the closure of many stores, sales of physical video formats such as DVD and Blu-ray were down a quarter to £355.7m.

While no industry data is available on the most streamed movies and TV shows, the number one best-selling video over combined physical and download formats was Disney’s Frozen 2 with sales of 972,996 units.

 

Best Selling Films on Video 2020

 

Title

Unit sales

1

Frozen 2

972,996

2

Joker

827,680

3

Star Wars IX - The Rise Of Skywalker

770,491

4

Downton Abbey - The Movie

684,688

5

1917

649,957

6

Jumanji - The Next Level

562,123

7

Bad Boys For Life

395,119

8

Sonic The Hedgehog

377,454

9

Onward

376,653

10

Terminator - Dark Fate

340,403

Source: Official Charts Company

 

Games market exceeds £4bn for the first time

Games overtook video to become the UK’s biggest entertainment sector as long ago as 2013 when sales reached £2.3bn. In 2020 revenues were £4.2bn, a leap of 14.5% on 2019, and the first time it has breached the £4bn threshold.

The largest single segment is the digital games business which ranges from mobile and streamed games to downloads. It grew by 16.3% to £3.6bn in 2020, driven by increasing numbers of gamers buying direct to console games, digital subscriptions and downloadable content meaning it was worth more than the entire video market and twice as much as the music market.

Physical games enjoyed a return to growth in 2020 with revenues up 4.6% to £598.5m. Increased game purchasing during lockdown as well as new gaming consoles in November are driving this growth.

The biggest selling game was FIFA 21 with sales of 2.18 million units.

Best-selling Games 2020

Chart Position

Title

Total Unit Sales

1

FIFA 21

2,182,694

2

Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

1,420,353

3

Grand Theft Auto V

1,127,222

4

FIFA 20

903,810

5

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare

897,350

6

Animal Crossing: New Horizons*

810,462

7

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

665,815

8

The Last Of Us Part II

539,247

9

NBA 2K20

481,507

10

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege

436,957

Source: GSD Data provided by ISFE.  Digital sales weeks 1-52 2020. *No digital data provided


Music scores best result since 2006

The music market grew by 6.8% in 2020 to £1.55bn, its highest total since 2006. Again most of the growth was driven by streaming services including Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Deezer and YouTube Music. Streaming revenues grew by 15.5% to £1.21bn, more than the entire music market was worth as recently as 2016.

Lockdown listening did not benefit sales of downloads, however, with revenues down 19.5% to £72.2m. Also down were CD sales, hit by the closure of physical stores during lockdown with revenues of £156.2m, 28% less than 2019.

In contrast vinyl continued its strong revival with sales up 13.3% to £110m. Vinyl now accounts for more than 40% of the physical music market.

Most popular album of the year was Lewis Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent which generated a total of 455,914 sales.

Most Popular Albums 2020

 

Title

Artist

Equivalent sales

1

Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent

Lewis Capaldi

455,914

2

Fine Line

Harry Styles

293,435

3

Future Nostalgia

Dua Lipa

265,042

4

When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go

Billie Eilish

239,879

5

Heavy Is The Head

Stormzy

222,791

6

Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon

Pop Smoke

222,052

7

No 6 Collaborations Project

Ed Sheeran

217,939

8

Greatest Hits

Queen

193,495

9

The Greatest Showman

Motion Picture Cast Recording

190,864

10

Diamonds

Elton John

189,752

Source: Official Charts Company. Includes physical sales, downloads and streams

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