Home entertainment sales beat print for first time in UK

logos of spotify netflix next to each other

It’s long been clear that these times are a changin’ when it comes to how we like to consume media in the internet age. And now, a new report released by the Entertainment Retailers Association suggests that likes of Spotify and Netflix are so popular that cash spent on home entertainment has now surpassed what people are spending on books, magazines and newspapers.

A turning point was always on the horizon, and the Entertainment Retailers Association have confirmed it: reporting that home entertainment media sales (that’s including all music formats, video and games) in the UK have topped £7.2bn – surpassing what was spent on different types of print media (£7.1bn).

What, if anything, does the ECA pinpoint as driving this change? Chiefly, the popularity of on-demand streaming services Spotify and Netflix, despite them being relatively low-cost monthly services (starting at £9.99 or £6.99 for paid-for subscriptions).

Spotify – which officially went public last week – recorded 70 million paying subscribers worldwide in January, up from 30 million paying subscribers in March 2016 (although is still struggling to be profitable). Netflix isn’t doing bad either, reporting 117.58 million streaming subscribers worldwide in the last quarter of 2017.

2017 saw revenues from music streaming services grow by nearly 42% from 2016. Last year as much as 56% of revenues came from digital sources, a rapid change from only 4 years earlier in 2013 when physical media still accounted for 80% of revenues.

“It’s an extraordinary testament to the appeal and resonance of digital entertainment services that they have helped home entertainment to hit this milestone,” said chief executive at the ERA, Kim Bayley.

It’s worth nothing that sales of vinyl and video games are still showing healthy growth, indicating we’re not quite over holding some of our favourite albums just yet.