Business News Retail

Music’s doing fine now, so you should all start reading again

By | Published on Monday 5 March 2018

Entertainment Retailers Association

New stats published last week by the UK’s Entertainment Retailers Association showed that in 2017 monies generated by home music, video and gaming products and services exceeded the income of the combined book, magazine and newspaper sector. It’s the first time the audio and visual business has outperformed the words business. Good news for all you people making audio and visual stuff. Less good for us word-peddlers.

That stat is based on research commissioned by ERA and undertaken by the Leisure Industries Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University. Researchers there reckon that UK consumers spent £7.2bn on music, video and games in 2017, compared with £7.1bn on books, magazines and newspapers.

It’s no secret that the publishing industry (in the books and media sense, not music) is facing many of the same challenges as the music, movie and gaming sectors as it shifts over to digital. But the entertainers are enjoying the mega-bucks royalties paid over by new online platforms like Spotify and Netflix, and the music, video and gaming services offering by Amazon, Apple, Google and Sky.

ERA chief Kim Bayley said: “It is an extraordinary testament to the appeal and resonance of digital entertainment services that they have helped home entertainment to hit this milestone nearly 550 years since the invention of the printing press”.

Dr Themis Kokolakakis from the Leisure Industries Research Centre noted that while the economic crash of 2008/2009 hit both the entertainment and reading markets, the former has recovered more rapidly. Meanwhile books, newspapers and magazines are under pressure, “partly because there is so much competition for people’s time and attention”.

He concluded: “Entertainment has grown while reading has stagnated”.