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Packaged Media Makes Comeback in the U.K.

7 Mar, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Retail stores selling DVD, Blu-ray and music CDs has doubled in six years

The United Kingdom may be Netflix’s second-largest foreign territory after Canada, but the region is also home to nearly 15,000 retail stores selling video discs and music CDs, according to new data from the Entertainment Retailers Association. Indeed, the number of stores selling packaged media has more than doubled since 2009.

The increased retail footprint comes despite ongoing growth in digital sales at Amazon and iTunes, in addition to subscription streaming services such as Spotify, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. The Internet accounted for 71.8% of entertainment revenue in 2015, compared with 28.2% for traditional retail. 

The retail group found that DVD and Blu-ray Disc titles were available in 14,852 stores, with music CDs and/or vinyl available in 14,727 stores. The U.K. is the third-largest home video market after the U.S. and Japan, according to IHS. 

"These are astonishing numbers,” said Kim Bayley, CEO of ERA. “Conventional wisdom has always suggested that the Internet spelled the end for physical entertainment stores, but these numbers show that traditional retail still has a place, particularly for impulse purchases and gifts." 

Driving packaged-media availability is a significant increase in the number of general and non-entertainment retailers stocking packaged media chosen for their relevance to their particular customers. 

New British retailers selling packaged media include Argos (appliances, consumer electronics), Boots (pharmacy), Burton (men’s clothing), Moto (car services), Primark (supermarket) and Urban Outfitters, the latter largely selling vinyl records. 

"The addition of these outlets … means it is difficult to make a direct year-on-year comparison," Bayley said. “But … just as the Internet has demonstrated that accessibility and convenience are key to selling entertainment, physical stores are demonstrating that if you put entertainment in front of people, they will buy it." 

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