Bohemian Rhapsody helps video become entertainment’s fastest growing sector


The home entertainment video sector grew by 9.5% last year to £2.6 billion as musical films led by Bohemian Rhapsody drove sales, figures show.

The biggest video hit of 2019 was the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody with 1.7 million copies sold, the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE) said.

While spending on entertainment overall grew by 2.4% in 2019, spending on video surged driven entirely by the continuing rise of digital, ranging from downloads from Amazon, Apple and Sky Store and increasingly from streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sky’s Now TV, separate figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) show.

Two-thirds of the video sales of Bohemian Rhapsody were on physical formats, the ERA said.

PA Graphics
(PA Graphics)

Digital video sales grew by 21.5% to £2.11 billion, while physical revenues decreased 22.7% to £500 million. In cash terms it meant Britons spent £147 million less on physical video formats in 2019 than in 2018, but £373 million more on digital and subscription.

Meanwhile, spending by UK music fans on streaming services exceeded £1 billion for the first time in 2019, ERA said.

The £1 billion total spent on music subscription services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music and Deezer is four times as much as five years ago and 31 times the level of 2010.

Despite falls in sales of physical music, video and games formats, strong demand for digital services was enough to produce overall entertainment market growth of 2.4% to £7.8 billion, its seventh consecutive year of growth.

ERA chief executive Kim Bayley said: “The rise of digital entertainment services has created the biggest revolution in UK leisure habits in history, enabling people to access the music, video and games they love wherever and whenever they want, and transforming the fortunes of record labels, filmmakers and games developers.

“The fact that in 2019 over 80% of entertainment spending was on digital services shows the scale of that revolution.

“Video’s digital renaissance is remarkable, but it is undeniable that physical formats are the key to scoring a blockbuster hit. Every one of the year’s Top 10 biggest hits sold more on DVD and Blu-ray than they did digitally.”

BASE chief executive Liz Bales said: “Collection, curation and gifting are clearly continued gateways to the transactional video sector, but so too is the fact that planning a night with friends or family has an emotional resonance that many of us remain wedded to.

“Opportunity often comes from change, as evidenced by the UK production boom, and so we look to 2020 with excitement and a wealth of content and delivery well equipped to meet evolving audience needs.”

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