Video sales defy cynics with a leap to £536m

James Bond blockbuster Skyfall helped drive up video sales in the first three months of this year, with a surge in online viewing and sales of physical Blu-Ray discs.

Total sales across digital and physical formats jumped by 10.1 per cent to £536.3m, according to the British Video Association, with Skyfall selling 2.8m copies since its February release.

Sales of Blu-Ray discs, which are of superior quality to DVDs, were up 44 per cent to £65.3m and accounted for more than a tenth of turnover for the UK video home entertainment industry.

The popularity of Blu-Ray — with more than 5m players now sold in the UK — confounded the doom-mongers who claim physical media are dying fast. Revenues from physical formats climbed 7.2 per cent to £362.1m as expensive Blu-Ray discs more than offset a decline in DVD sales. Online video through streaming, downloads and subscription grew 55.5 per cent to £116.3m, according to IHS Screen Digest.

The BVA credited a slew of new releases including the latest instalments in The Twilight Saga and Game of Thrones. The volume of new-release sales was up a quarter on last year.

"Today's figures are most encouraging, particularly the increase in the value of physical sales," declared Lavinia Carey, BVA director general, who said it showed "people's attachment to video discs".

She added that Britons want home entertainment "in and out of the home" in the mobile age.

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