UK digital media to enjoy four-year boom

Britain’s entertainment sector is set fair to enjoy a four-year spell of rapid growth as demand for e-books, streamed media, video games and online advertising power the digital economy to fresh heights, according to a report compiled by accountants PwC.

They estimate that the UK entertainment and media sector will be worth £66.6bn in 2019, up from £56.9bn in 2014, driven by the transition from physical formats seen in recent years.

News of a likely bonanza in the years ahead is music to the ears of publishers who have seen the music and book trades languish as traditional models become outdated. As the digital economy matures however new opportunities arising from the switch are set to more than make-up for these losses.

PwC estimates for instance that ebooks read on tablets will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 20 per cent a year through to 2020, putting it on course to be a £1bn per year industry and nudging electronic books ahead of printed books for the first time in 2018.

The music industry, another perennial under performer, is also expected to reap the rewards offered by ubiquitous streaming, with digital music channels expected to overtake traditional radio advertising this year – although digital download revenue is expected to fall from £516m in 2013 to just £388m in 2019.

Even the newspaper industry, for so long the whipping boy of the digital transition, may be able to stem the bleeding as early as 2017 with projections suggesting that global digital subscriptions will begin to make up for lost print sales by this point.

In corollary with this PwC expects that the mobile internet and smartphones will increasingly become indispensable channels for this brave new world, with the mobile internet market alone set to grow at 7 per cent per annum to hit £7bn by 2019.

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