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Creative Economy

NEWS: UK entertainment sector is buoyant

updated
February 22, 2021
Published on:
January 15, 2019
January 5, 2021

Sales of Books, Music and Games Buoy UK Entertainment Industry

The UK entertainment sector has published robust sales data for books, music and games despite challenging retail conditions and technology-driven challenges to traditional entertainment channels and platforms.

According to preliminary data from the Entertainment Retailers Association, the total retail sales value of books, music, videos and games in the UK rose by 9.4 per cent to £7.53bn in 2018.

Nielsen Bookscan, the UK book sales monitor, estimates that the UK print book market grew by 2.1 per cent in value and by 0.3 per cent in volume during 2018.

In total,190.9m books were sold, worth £1.63bn. The Guardian quoted The Bookseller's estimate that this figure was up £34m on 2017. Volume also increased, with an extra 627,000 books sold last year.

The year's most valuable title was 'Becoming', the memoir from former First Lady Michelle Obama, whilst the biggest-selling non-fiction title was 'This is going to hurt', Adam Kay's memoir about life as a junior doctor, and the overall top-selling title was 'Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine', the debut novel by Gail Honeyman.

The music sector has also proven resilient - despite HMV, the major high street retailer, going into administration. According to a release by the BPI, the music labels' association, based on Official Charts Company data, 142.9 million albums or their equivalent were either streamed, physically purchased or downloaded in the UK during 2018.  These sales had an estimated retail value of £1.33bn.

This represents a 5.7 per cent rise on 2017 and marks a fourth year of consecutive volume growth. Some 91 billion audio streams were served – including 2bn streams in a single week for the first time.  Audio streaming accounted for nearly two thirds of all UK music consumption during the year.

It is expected that over 100bn audio streams will be served in the UK during 2019. Since 2014, combined UK sales and streams have grown by 22 per cent.

George Ezra's 'Staying at Tamara's' was the biggest-selling album released during 2018, though the soundtrack to 'The Greatest Showman' was the biggest overall seller.

There were also 4.2m sales of vinyl LPs, a rise of 1.6 per cent, marking the 11th consecutive year of growth for vinyl.

Separately, according to a report from the Entertainment Retailers Association, video games are worth £3.86bn in the UK - or more than double their value in 2007. This success has been driven by the sales of three blockbuster games, 'Fifa 19', 'Red Dead Redemption 2', produced by Scotland's Rockstar Games, and 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 4'.  Each sold more than 1m physical units in the UK during 2018.

The figures do not take into account mobile and free games such as Fortnite, which has more than 200m players worldwide.

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