Digital destroys disc sales for the first time, thanks to Netflix and Amazon

Physical media isn’t dead but it's lagging behind streaming

The inevitable has happened: thanks to the rise in popularity of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and iTunes downloads, digital has beat disc for the first time in revenue. 

The figures, revealed by the Entertainment Retailers Association, show a 17% decline in sales of DVDs and Blu-rays. This means that physical sales value has now dipped below £1 billion, to £894 million. 

Digital video - streaming and downloads combined - is up a whopping 23%, however, clocking an impressive £1.3 billion in revenue last year. In total it shows an industry in rude health, with revenue up 2.2% to £2.25 billion. 

The bestseller in all of this was, unsurprisingly, Star Wars: The Force Awakens which sold 2.3 million copies in total.

Disc Deadpool

A similar trend is happening in music and video games, too. Digital purchases for gaming was up 12%, while streaming is by far the most popular way music is being consumed - up a massive 65% year on year, which equates to £418 million is 'sales'.

According to Home Cinema Choice, the data also shows that Deadpool was the most-popular Ultra HD Blu-ray disc. 

At just 11,000 copies, though, the format has a long way to go to help buoy physical disc sales. Here’s hoping new, cheaper UHD Blu-ray players from Sony and Panasonic, unveiled at CES 2017, will kickstart disc sales a little more. 

Via The Guardian


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Marc (Twitter, Google+) is one of the founding members of TechRadar, and has had the pleasure of seeing it change from a tiny reviews site, to the tech behemoth it is today. As well as working on TechRadar, Marc has headed up editorial content for T3 magazine and, had a 10-month stint editing a weekly iPad mag, written film reviews for a whole host of publications and has been an integral part of many magazines that are no longer with us.