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UK entertainment sales grow 7% to £11.9 billion in 2023, says ERA

The value of the UK music, video and games markets increased for the 11th successive year in 2023, rising 7% to another all-time record of £11.9bn, according to preliminary figures released by digital entertainment and retail association ERA.

It means the entertainment market has grown by just over 50% since the last pre-pandemic year of 2019, led by video (up 88.3%), followed by music (+38.8%) and games (+29.2%).

The main driver of growth in 2023 was streaming and digital services which increased revenues by more than £800m in a year and now account for 91.7% of total revenue.

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

The fastest growing sector in 2023 was video, up 10% to £4,915m, followed by music, up 9.6% to £2,220m and games up 2.9% to £4,737m.

Driven by subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV, video recaptured its historic position as entertainment’s largest sector, ending a 10 year run of dominance by games.

Meanwhile thanks to streaming services from Spotify, Amazon, YouTube and Apple, music revenues were their highest since 2002 – and just 0.08% below music’s all time high of 2001.

Games sales grew by a modest 2.9% in 2023 to £4,736.7m, but have now doubled in value over the past decade.

“The entertainment business is defying gravity, delivering 11 straight years of growth regardless of wider economic conditions,” commented ERA chairman, Ben Drury. “Due credit should go to the amazing 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.

“The overwhelming majority of the money raised by digital services and retailers goes direct to the content owners, and their success is directly benefitting creators.”

Top sellers in the categories including The Weeknd’s The Highlights as biggest album of the year; Miley Cyrus’ Flowers as best performing track; Avatar – The Way of Water as the biggest selling video title of the year (generating sales of 560,000); and EA Sports FC 24 as the biggest selling console game. The title was Electronic Arts’ replacement for its 29-year partnership with football’s world governing body on the FIFA series. Significantly the new title sold in almost identical quantities to its predecessor, around 2.39m copies.

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