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Image Source: Jenny Cestnik
Richard Bell

Netflix and Amazon set to overtake UK cinema box office

Streaming services Netflix and Amazon will see their revenues overtake box office earnings in the UK by 2020, according to a new report.

Professional services giant PwC has predicted that the amount spent watching TV shows and films via on-demand digital video services will rise by over 30% to £1.42bn in the UK within the next three years.

The figure would put streaming ahead of cinema box office earnings, which PwC has forecast to be £1.41bn at the turn of the decade.

According to the Guardian, although Sky and Apple have made inroads with download services, the increasing popularity of streaming has been cinemas’ most significant challenge in recent years.

Both Netflix and Amazon have wooed millions in the UK with original dramas unavailable elsewhere, including The Crown and The Man in the High Castle.

Phil Stokes, PwC’s UK head of entertainment and media, said: “Demand for internet video shows no signs of slowing down.

“The figures do not signal the death of film. Look at the box office performance of films such as Star Wars: Rogue One or Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to see the significant amount of enthusiasm for blockbuster movies out there.”

The PwC report predicted that cinema attendance will continue to grow in the coming years, rising from 172m admissions in 2016 to 179m in 2021. The number of screens in the UK is also forecast to grow, from 4,143 to 4,542.

Further, the study predicted that by 2020 Netflix and Amazon will together account for almost two-thirds of the on-demand subscription market, with the remainder accounted for by viewers purchasing one-off programmes, sporting events or films through services such as the Apple iTunes store or Sky Box Office.

Conversely, PwC believes DVD and Blu-ray sales will see a “terminal decline”, dropping from £1.22bn last year to £533m in 2021.

Speaking further, PwC’s Phil Stokes added: “The failure in this market is the high street retailers, supermarkets and specialist stores [selling DVDs and Blu-ray].

“As well as the shift to digital a lot of physical buying is from services like Amazon. And online streaming is bypassing high street retailers.”

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