Cable and satellite TV lead boom in Western spending on entertainment media

By | May 25, 2011

Consumer expenditures on entertainment media in North America and Europe grew a hefty 69% between 2000 and 2010 to reach USD 234.8bn, with cable and satellite TV retaining top slot as the leading form of entertainment media during the preceding ten years (or “noughties” as some have described them), according to a new report from IHS Screen Digest.

Cable and satellite TV accounted for 59% of all entertainment media spending in 2010 on the two continents, compared to 40% ten years ago, according to the report, which also tracks the performance of segments such as home video, video games, music and cinema. Revenue from cable and satellite TV services reached an estimated USD 139.2bn last year, up from USD 56.1bn in 2000.

“Ten years ago, consumers in North America and Europe spent more on music than on video,” said Tony Gunnarsson, analyst for video at IHS. “However, the music segment has suffered from its failure to transition from physical to digital delivery.” Spending on music across all physical and digital formats is believed to have declined by 55% during the first decade of the new millenium to reach USD 13.9bn in 2010, accounting for just 6% of total entertainment media spending, compared to 22% a decade ago.

The second-largest area in terms of entertainment media spending in 2010 was video, which overtook music as early as 2001 and recorded net growth of 14% during the decade to generate revenues of USD 32.3bn in 2010.

However, video is not without its challenges, according to the report: “Spending on the video sector peaked in 2004 at USD 40.7bn, and despite subsequent growth on new platforms such as online and mobile, overall video spending since then has fallen as the DVD format reached market maturity and consumers found themselves exposed to ever-greater entertainment media choices,” added Mr. Gunnarson. “Video now makes up 14 percent share of the total entertainment market, compared to 20 percent share 10 years ago.”

Games was the third-largest area of entertainment media spending in 2010 and also demonstrated the fastest growth of any sector in the preceding decade, up 193% from USD 9.9bn ten years ago to USD 29bn in 2010. Having benefited from expanded demographics (thanks to family-friendly titles from the likes of the Nintendo Wii) and the boom in digital 3D, games made up 12% of total entertainment media spending in 2010, compared to just 7% in 2000.

Consumer spending on cinema (still the fourth largest of the five sectors analysed) reached USD 20.4bn in 2010, representing net growth of 49% during the decade. However, as with the shift in spending from music to video, consumers now spend more on video games than on cinema tickets.

When cinema and TV are excluded from the analysis, the continuing dominance of packaged media over digital and mobile delivery is clear, according to IHS Screen Digest: packaged media accounted for 82% of spending last year, followed by digital at 15% and mobile at 3%.

Within the packaged media business, North Americans spend a greater proportion on buying and renting video than their European counterparts – 56% versus 43% last year. The reverse is true however for packaged music, with Europeans spending approximately double the 9% expended by North Americans on packaged music, reflecting the fact that consumers in North America bought more digital music than in Europe.

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