More people than ever are turning to the web to buy their music and movies. That's the story coming out of Screen Digest this week, in news which will surely not bode well for high street chains.
After revenues for online music sales in the UK peaked at £45m last year, the market is reportedly already becoming the model that other online content distributors are trying to emulate. By 2011, Screen Digest forecasts that 191 million single tracks and 21 million albums will be downloaded, with UK revenue at £285.6 million.
Downloads are taking over
Analyst Dan Cryan says: "The rapid growth of online music constitutes an invaluable lifeline for the record industry as the decline in physical sales shows no sign of letting up. So the question remains whether the growth in digital will be able to fill the revenue gap left by the fall in physical sales."
Screen Digest also forecasts that, despite a slow start, the online TV market will generate annual revenues of £181m by 2011. At present there are only a few online TV options to choose from. But as more services become available, consumers will increasingly adopt online TV to catch up on soaps, dramas and reality TV shows and to preview their favourite shows.
TV goes online
"Broadcasters and pay-TV operators will come under increasing pressure from many major 'virtual networks', such as YouTube and Joost, who will be competing for viewers' time and attention. This will be exacerbated by hardware manufacturers, such as Apple, Microsoft and Sony, who will be far more adept at selling TV shows because of their existing device relationships with the consumer," said senior analyst Arash Amel.
"The result is that the UK online TV market will be increasingly fragmented, with the new entrants trapping considerable market share. The threats and opportunities for traditional broadcast networks and pay-TV platforms is clear.
"They must adapt their online strategies quickly and efficiently, whether it is focusing on maximising the potential of video offered through their own websites and online outlets, or co-operating with the new platforms to syndicate as widely as possible in order to tap significant additional revenue," she said.