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Video games remain Britain’s top entertainment category, but Netflix and Disney+ are helping video streaming catch on quickly

Video games remain Britain’s top entertainment category, but Netflix and Disney+ are helping video streaming catch on quickly
Video games remain Britain’s top entertainment category, but Netflix and Disney+ are helping video streaming catch on quickly

Video games were the biggest-selling home entertainment category in the UK last year, although video streaming is fast catching up and music sales hit their highest level in two decades.

Helped by growth in video and game streaming, and the renaissance of vinyl records, UK entertainment sales have grown almost 40% since 2019, reaching £11.1bn in 2022.

A total of £4.66bn was spent over the year on digital games, across traditional physical discs, console and PC downloads, mobile and tablet games and other subscription and token-based games, up 2.3% year-on-year for.

Games accounted for 42.1% of the total, according to digital entertainment and retail association ERA, with console downloads the fastest-growing element, up 12.2% to £724.7m, mobile and tablet games up 3.2% to £1.5bn and other digital sales up 0.2% to £1.75 billion.

The best-selling console game was FIFA 23, made by Electronic Arts Inc, which sold 2.39 million units across digital and physical formats in the final installment of the game.

UK video game manufacturers include Team17 Group PLC, Frontier Developments PLC (AIM:FDEV) and tinyBuild Inc (LSE:TBLD), while Keywords Studios PLC is a leading provider of services to the industry.

Video revenue grew 14.4% to £4.4 billion, driven mainly by online streaming services from Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Now TV, ITV PLC’s (LSE:ITV) itvx and Britbox, which grew 17.6% to £3 .85 billion.

Some are still buying DVDs, with sales at £117.2m, down 22% from 2021.

‘Top Gun – Maverick’ was the best-selling film title, selling 1.1 million copies, of which more than 800,000 were electronic or downloaded, followed by ‘Spiderman – No Way Home’.

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Music grew by 3% to just under £2bn, with streaming via the likes of Spotify, YouTube, Apple, Deezer and Soundcloud driving the highest level of sales since 2003 and almost doubling from the 2013 low.

Subscription streaming revenue made up £1.7m of the total, up 5%, and physical sales fell 4% to £280.4m, although vinyl sales continued to grow.

Physical music sales flattened, ERA said, as higher-priced vinyl growth of 11% was offset by CD sales falling 17%.

Vinyl album sales of £150.5 million outsold CD album sales for the first time since 1987.

The best-selling album was Harry Styles’ ‘Harry’s House’, while the best-selling/streaming single was his ‘As It Was’.

ERA chief Kim Bayley said: “We are approaching a watershed. Thanks to the investment and ingenuity of streaming services on the one hand and brick-and-mortar retailers driving the vinyl revival on the other, music is within sight of surpassing £2 billion in retail value for the first time in more than two decades. “

As for games, Bayley said the category “remains the often unrecognized leader of the entertainment market” as growth is lower than that of video or music, “but the scale is huge and in terms of innovation and excitement it continues to set the pace for the entire entertainment sector ».