Advanced Television

UK entertainment sales reach £11.9bn

January 10, 2024

The value of the UK music, video and games markets increased for the eleventh successive year in 2023, rising 7 per cent to another all-time record of £11.9 billion (€13.8bn), according to preliminary figures released by digital entertainment and retail association ERA.

It means the entertainment market has grown by just over 50 per cent since the last pre-pandemic year of 2019, led by video (up 88.3 per cent), followed by music (+38.8 per cent) and games (+29.2 per cent).

The main driver of growth in 2023 was streaming and digital services which increased revenues by more than £800 million in a year and now account for 91.7 per cent of total revenue.

Bucking the declining trend in physical formats, the value of vinyl LP sales increased by 18 per cent and CD achieved its first value increase in 20 years (+2 per cent).

The fastest growing sector in 2023 was video, up 10 per cent to £4.915 billion, followed by music, up 9.6 per cent to £2.22 billion and games up 2.9 per cent to £4.737 billion.

Driven by subscription services such as Netflix, Prime Video and Apple TV+, video recaptured its historic position as entertainment’s largest sector, ending a 10 year run of dominance by games.

Meanwhile thanks to streaming services from Spotify, Amazon, YouTube and Apple, music revenues were their highest since 2002 – and just 0.08 per cent below music’s all time high of 2001.

Games sales grew by a modest 2.9 per cent in 2023 to £4.736 billion but have now doubled in value over the past decade.

“The entertainment business is defying gravity, delivering eleven straight years of growth regardless of wider economic conditions,” noted 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.”


UK spending on music streaming subscriptions, vinyl and CDs grew by 9.6 per cent in 2023, nearly twice as fast as 2022 (+5 per cent). The £2.2199 billion total was the highest since 2001, the historic peak of the CD era, and just 0.08 per cent shy of that record. It was more than double the level of 2013 when music sales plummeted in the face of internet piracy.

Once again, the main driver of growth came from streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube, Amazon and Apple, which grew subscription streaming revenues by 9.8 per cent to £1,866.2 million, another all-time-high.

Physical sales grew by an impressive 10.9 per cent to £311 million, a significant improvement on 2022’s 4 per cent decline. Vinyl album sales grew by 17.8 per cent to reach £177.3 million, while CD recorded its first rise in sales value for two decades, up 2 per cent to reach £126.2 million.

The strength of physical sales was all the more remarkable given significant distribution problems which affected much of the industry in late summer 2023.

The biggest album of the year was The Weeknd’s The Highlights, while the best-performing track was Miley Cyrus’s Flowers.

“With revenues just a fraction away from music’s all-time-high, this is a red letter day for the music industry and is a testament not just to the creativity of artists, but to the entrepreneurial drive of digital services and retailers,” declared ERA CEO Kim Bayley. “A world without streaming now seems unthinkable. Meanwhile the tenacity of physical retailers has driven not just the vinyl revival, but a surprise increase in the value of CD sales. Given all we’ve been through, it really doesn’t get much better than this.”


In 2023, video recaptured its historic position as entertainment’s most valuable category, driven above all by SVoD services from the likes of Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+ and NOW. Revenues grew 10 per cent to £4.915 billion, two-and-a-half times the level in 2014, the industry’s most recent low point

Subscription video on demand grew by 12.8 per cent to £4,401 billion and now accounts for 89 per cent of the video market. SVoD revenues are now up 75 per cent since the pandemic year of 2020.

In contrast to music, video’s physical formats suffered further reverses with DVD sales down 21.7 per cent to £91.8 million while Blu-ray declined 15.1 per cent to £77.9 million.

The biggest-selling video title of the year was Avatar – The Way of Water which generated sales of 560,000.

“2023 marked a dramatic return to the top for video, finally ending games’ decade-long run as entertainment’s largest sector,” advised Bayley. “For a long time, the only way to enjoy video digitally was illegally. Streaming changed all that and has transformed not just the viewing habits of tens of millions, but the fortunes of the entire movie and TV business.”


Gaming revenues grew in 2023 by a relatively modest 2.9 per cent, a reflection of its much faster journey to digital maturity than video or music. At £4.736 billion, it was more than twice the size it was in 2013, however, with digital accounting for around 90 per cent of revenue.

Games is the most fragmented of the three sectors with channels ranging from traditional packaged discs to console downloads, PC games, mobile and tablet games and a variety of other subscription and token-based playing mechanisms.

Physical games software sales were again challenged, falling 4.4 per cent to £4.95 billion compared with 2022.

The biggest-selling console game was EA Sports FC 24, Electronic Arts’s replacement for its 29 year partnership with football’s world governing body on the a series. Significantly the new title sold in almost identical quantities to its predecessor, around 2.39 million copies.

“Gaming is the most digitally native sector of the entertainment business and in 2023 it continued to show its ability to connect with people across every channel and demographic,” said Bayley. “A maturing market brings its own challenges, but at more than twice the size of the music market, games remains a leviathan.”

2022 2023  Per cent change vs 2022
Music Physical £280.4 £311.0 10.9 per cent
Downloads £45.4 £42.7 -5.9 per cent
Streaming £1,699.1 £1,866.2 9.8 per cent
Total Music £2,024.9 £2,219.9 9.6 per cent
Video Physical Retail £209.0 £169.7 -18.8 per cent
Physical Rental £9.9 £5.6 -43.7 per cent
Digital £4,248.4 £4,739.7 11.6 per cent
Total Video £4,467.3 £4,915.1 10.0 per cent
Games Physical £517.9 £495.0 -4.4 per cent
Digital £4,086.5 £4,241.8 3.8 per cent
Total Games £4,604.3 £4,736.7 2.9 per cent
Total Entertainment Physical £1,017.2 £981.3 -3.5 per cent
Digital (inc streaming) £10,079.3 £10,890.4 8.0 per cent
Total Entertainment £11,096.5 £11,871.7 7.0 per cent


2019 2023  Per cent change
Video £2,610.6m £4,915.1m +88.3 per cent
Games £3,666.2m £4,736.7m +29.2 per cent
Music £1,599.4m £2,219.9m +38.8 per cent
Home entertainment £7,876.2m £11,871.7m +50.7 per cent

Categories: Articles, Broadcast, Consumer Behaviour, Markets, OTT, OTT, Portable Media, Premium, Research, VOD

Tags: , , , ,