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Digital downloads break through the £1bn barrier

A quarter of the home entertainment market is now digital, with more than £1bn being spent on downloaded films, music and games in 2012, according to the latest figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).

That's an increase of 11.4% over 2011. The same figures show a big drop in sales of physical, disc-based media. Sales of CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games fell by 17.6% in 2012, although they still account for around three quarters of the market.

Video games accounted for more than half of digital sales at £552m (+8%). Films and music had a smaller share of the digital market but grew more sharply, with downloaded films up by 20% and music by 15%.

Kim Bayley, director general of the ERA, says that breaking the £1bn barrier was an "incredible achievement" for retailers.

"This reflects their huge investment in new and innovative services – which means you can buy music, video and games literally at any time of the day and wherever you are.

"At the same time I suspect that many people will be surprised to learn just how resilient the physical business still is – with three-quarters of entertainment sales still on disc.

"Downloads offer convenience and portability, but people still seem to value the quality and tangibility of a physical product."

The complete breakdown of digital sales is as follows:

• Music £383m (up 15.1% on 2011)

• Films/video £98m (+20.3%)

• Video games £552m (+7.7%)

• Total: £1,033m (+11.4%)

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