According to preliminary figures released by Digital Entertainment and Retail association ERA, the UK entertainment market grew by 7% throughout 2023.

The £11.9bn figure reportedly marks the eleventh successive year of broken sales records.

ERA confirms that the UK entertainment retail market has grown by just over 50% since the last pre-pandemic year of 2019.

This success was led by video which increased 88.3%, followed by music rising by 38.8% and games which were up by 29.2%.

Video killed the radio star

In 2023 video recaptured its historic position as entertainment’s most valuable category, driven above all by streaming video on demand (SVOD) services from the likes of Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+ and Now TV.

Revenues grew 10% in 2023 to £4,915.1m, two-and-a-half times the level in 2014, the industry’s most recent low point.

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By GlobalData

Subscription video on demand grew by 12.8% to £4,401.2m and now accounts for 89% of the video market. SVOD revenues are now up 75% since the pandemic year of 2020.

The sound of music

UK spending on music streaming subscriptions, vinyl and CDs grew by 9.6% in 2023, nearly twice as fast as 2022 (+5%). The £2,219.9m total was the highest since 2001, the historic peak of the CD era, and just 0.08% shy of that record. It was more than double the level of 2013 when music sales plummeted in the face of internet piracy.

Once again, the main driver of growth came from streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube, Amazon and Apple, which grew subscription streaming revenues by 9.8% to £1,866.2m, another all-time-high.

Bucking the declining trend in physical formats, the value of vinyl LP sales also increased by 18% and CD achieved its first value increase in 20 years (+2%).

Game, set, match

Gaming revenues grew in 2023 by a relatively modest 2.9%, a reflection of its much faster journey to digital maturity than video or music. At £4,736.7m it was more than twice the size it was in 2013, however, with digital accounting for around 90% of revenue.

Games is the most fragmented of the three sectors with channels ranging from traditional packaged discs to console downloads, PC, mobile, and tablet games and other subscription and token-based playing mechanisms.

RA Chairman Ben Drury said, “The entertainment business is defying gravity, delivering eleven straight years of growth regardless of wider economic conditions. Due credit should go to the creative talent behind the movies, music and games we all love, but we should also recognise the huge contribution of the digital services and retailers who have reinvented the entertainment experience for consumers over the past 15 years.”