Star-studded year for entertainment as sales hit £6bn

Jedi lessons from Star Wars to business

Moreover, it appears to have reached a point where people are happy to pay for content — a Shangri-La for music and film companies that have long battled piracy and an anarchic online marketplace, reports The Times.

Entertainment sales hit £6.1 billion last year, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association, breaking the previous best of £6.04 billion reached in 2004. Music sales grew by 4 per cent in 2015, video rose by 1.5 per cent and video game sales surged 10 per cent.

It is a far cry from 2012, when sales of music, DVDs and console games collectively slipped a compact disc and hit a nadir of £5.2 billion, after a miserable run in which retailers such as Woolworths and Our Price collapsed.

The rise of streaming music and video and the popularity of smartphone games has been accompanied by an unexpected revival of the old-fashioned vinyl LP. That, in turn, has helped the music scene to reap the benefit of the success of home-grown artists, who accounted for 15 of the top 20 albums last year, according to the BPI, the music trade body, driving revenue to £1.1 billion. Adele led the way, with 2.5 million copies of her new album 25 sold in the UK in the six weeks since release.

Streaming via Spotify and Apple Music continued to boom and accounted for 54 per cent of all music listening last year. There were 2.1 million vinyl records sold, up 64 per cent, a 21-year high.

Video is tipped to become a predominantly digital business, with the rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime, although certain movies continued to sell well on DVD last year.

In gaming, digital revenue grew by 17 per cent to £1.9 billion — more than the online music and movie businesses put together — but physical revenue dropped by 2 per cent. Game Digital, the retailer, warned about profits before Christmas and it appears that the owners of new consoles are not buying as many physical copies of games as they did.

Cinema also had a champagne year in 2015 with the new Star Wars, James Bond and Jurassic Park movies. Industry data from Rentrak showed that Odeon has retaken the No 1 slot among cinema chains in 2015 from its rival Cineworld.