U.K. Digital Entertainment Sales Top £1 Billion for First Time


A Bulgarian worker prepares to destroy tens of thousands of counterfeit DVDs and CDs with movies, music and software in Sofia on June 3, 2008. The pirated CDs were seized over the last year during Bulgarian police operations.

But weaker physical music, TV, film and video game sales lead to an overall home entertainment sales drop of 12 percent for 2012.

U.K. home entertainment sales dropped 12 percent in 2012 as lower physical sales of music, TV shows, films and video games outweighed an 11.4 percent digital gain that pushed digital sales above the £1 billion mark for the first time.

Digital sales now account for almost a quarter of the overall market with $1.68 billion (£1.03 billion), according to data from the Entertainment Retailers Association.

Physical sales of CDs, DVDs and video game discs fell 17.6 percent, pushing overall home entertainment sales down 12 percent to $6.86 billion (£4.21 billion), it said.

Digital music sales rose 15.1 percent to $625 million (£383 million), a figure that excludes sales from online streaming services such as Spotify. Digital video sales rose 20.3 percent to $160 million (£97.9 million). Digital video game sales increased 7.7 percent to $900 million (£552 million) in 2012.

"Breaching the £1 billion barrier is an incredible achievement for the U.K.'s digital entertainment retailers and reflects their huge investment in new and innovative services, which means you can buy music, video and games literally at any time of the day and wherever you are," said Kim Bayley, ERA's director general.

Added Bayley: "Despite digital's seemingly inexorable growth, the CD, the DVD and the physical games disc show incredible resilience. It is nearly nine years since iTunes launched in the U.K., yet over 60 percent of music sales are still accounted for by physical formats."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai