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U.K. Entertainment Sales Down 12%

2 Jan, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

Sales of physical home entertainment products in the United Kingdom were down 12% for 2012 to £4.21 billion ($5.55 billion), according to data released by the U.K. Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), with video games down the most (17%).

The London Olympics were partly to blame, according to the ERA, with many music, video and games suppliers choosing not to release major titles during the summer to avoid competing with the Games.

“The dearth of attractive releases during summer 2012 was clearly a significant factor,” said ERA director general Kim Bayley. “No retailer can afford to pay overhead on a store for 52 weeks of the year if all the key releases are going to be concentrated in the last quarter. And entrepreneurs will think twice about investing in new digital services if releases fail to excite the public. Luckily the message appears to be getting through and we look forward to being able to offer the public a much better release slate in 2013.”

Digital sales of home entertainment passed £1 billion ($1.31 billion) for the first time ever, and grew in 2012 by 11.4% over 2011, accounting for a quarter of the market. Disc sales of CDs, games, DVDs and Blu-ray Discs were down 17.6% year to year.

“Breaching the £1 billion barrier is an incredible achievement for the UK's digital entertainment retailers and reflects their huge investment in new and innovative services, which means you can buy music, video and games literally at any time of the day and wherever you are,” Bayley said. “At the same time, I suspect that many people will be surprised to learn just how resilient the physical business still is, with three quarters of entertainment sales still on disc. Downloads offer convenience and portability, but people still seem to value the quality and tangibility of a physical product.”

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