Second Screen Spurs UK Digital Video Spend; Blu-ray Keeps Growing

Mike Wheatley

It seems that there’s no satisfying British viewers’ appetite for digital video entertainment, with the latest figures from the British Video Association (BVA) revealing a massive 49% rise in spending over the past 12 months, fuelled by a growing demand for more Blu-ray and second screen content.

Second screen
Second screen spurs UK digital video spend; Blu-ray keeps growing

Such is the popularity of digital video entertainment these days that the market is estimated to be worth some £0.5 billion, accounting for staggering 22% of the UK’s £2.3 billion video entertainment industry.

It’s not hard to see why the video entertainment market is so big – the fact that there are now 40 digital media services available in the United Kingdom speaks volumes for its popularity, and reflects the changing habits among British viewers as they become more ‘connected’. According to the BVA, UK consumers now own a total of 7 million connected devices, with 18% of all households now owning at least one ‘tablet’ device. What with so many homes getting online, the rise of second screens isn’t really a surprise either – with more than 64% of consumers who own such a device having downloaded at least one associated home entertainment app offering digital video content. In addition, smartphone owners are also joining in the fun, with 60% of this segment also downloading an app that enables them to enjoy digital media entertainment.

But despite the rise of digital video, traditional methods have far from lost their appeal. The growth of Blu-ray, which now accounts for 29% of the UK video entertainment market, underlines that a huge segment of UK viewers still appreciate what is regarded as the best quality media entertainment around. Meanwhile, DVDs also continue to sell like hot cakes, helping physical discs to account for a total 78% of the UK’s video market last year.

Lavinia Carey, the BVA’s Director General, said that the new statistics are evidence that competition between traditional broadcasters and digital media producers is heating up:

“Nowadays, the vast majority of viewers possess the know-how and the technology to access digital video entertainment, and it’s clear that this is becoming much more popular. However, the evidence points to continuing strong sales of Blu-rays and DVDs, which shows us that many consumers are in fact buying both types of content – from this it’s clear that there’s room for both in the video entertainment sector, as different kinds of content meet different needs,” explained Carey.

Carey points to the fact that Blu-ray remains far superior to digital video, offering the highest definition images and surround sound experience currently available – hence the purists will always prefer to view content in this format on their HDTV sets whenever they can. However, for pure convenience, the ability to instantly download or stream video content helps give digital media the edge.

BVA also released its list of the top ten best-selling DVD and Blu-ray titles over the past year. Few surprises as to what movie came out on top – with The Dark Knight Rises comfortably outselling any other title, followed by popular teen vampire flick The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn – Part 1 in second place, and Avengers Assemble in third place.