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Video games dethroned as the UK’s top entertainment sector

Video streaming services such as Netflix have pushed video ahead of gaming in annual UK revenue
Video games dethroned as the UK’s top entertainment sector
Date Type Companies Involved Key Datapoint
Jan 9, 2024 report £4.74 billion UK games sales
  • The UK games market’s value has been superseded by video content
  • UK sales in games continued to grow by 2.9% last year, reaching £4.74 billion
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The UK games market’s value has been superseded by video content, losing its status as the biggest entertainment sector for the first time in over a decade. Even so, UK sales in games continued to grow by 2.9% last year, reaching £4.74 billion.

According to Entertainment and Retail Association ERA’s latest findings, the overall value of the UK’s entertainment sector was £11.9 billion in 2023, rising 7% and marking 11 consecutive years of growth. £4.92 billion of that is attributable to video, eking ahead of gaming by approximately £180 million.

A digital lead

Physical game sales fell by 4.4% in 2023, down to only £495 million. It was digital sales that supported small growth, therefore, up 3.8% to £4.09 billion, and balancing out at a 2.9% increase overall. Physical sales in video were down too, by 18.8% in retail and 43.7% in rental, while digital sales grew by 11.6%, meanwhile.

This left music as the only sector to grow in physical sales in 2023, up 10.9% while streams rose 9.8%.

Within the video category, streaming and digital services underwent the biggest growth in the UK last year by garnering over £800 million more than in 2022. In fact, streaming and digital revenues currently account for 91.7% of video revenues - showing the rising prominence of subscription service giants such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and Netflix in user's entertainment diets.

Netflix is also looking to further bolster revenue generation via the gaming sector expressing its interests in both markets as the two go head-to-head.

On the rise

Compared to 2019, just before the pandemic, the entertainment sector’s total revenues have grown by more than 50%, showcasing just how dramatic a rise in entertainment consumption the UK has observed. “The entertainment business is defying gravity, delivering eleven straight years of growth regardless of wider economic conditions," said 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."

While its shows account for the vast majority of revenues, Netflix is currently looking to release nearly 90 games in 2024, as it seeks to grow as a multimedia brand.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash