Sigh. With some of us dragging our heels, it seems like digital distribution is the wave of the future - as well as the present.
In the United Kingdom, home entertainment sales dropped 12 percent in 2012, while there was an 11.4 percent gain in digital distribution. Sales topped the £1 billion mark for the first time in the U.K., as well.
Digital sales now make up nearly a quarter of the overall market in the U.K., with $1.68 billion (£1.03 billion) in sales, according to data from the Entertainment Retailers Association.
Home entertainment sales still accounted for $6.86 billion (£4.21 billion), as the physical sale of CDs, DVDs, Blu Rays and video games fell 17.6 percent. Given the rumors that the next Xbox and Playstation systems might go disc-less (most experts believe they will be the last video game systems that still use discs, however), these numbers could plunge even further.
"Breaching the £1 billion barrier is an incredible achievement for the U.K.'s digital entertainment retailers and 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," said Kim Bayley, ERA's director general. "Despite digital's seemingly inexorable growth, the CD, the DVD and the physical games disc show incredible resilience. It is nearly nine years since iTunes launched in the U.K., yet over 60 percent of music sales are still accounted for by physical formats."
I do not mind digital distribution; I just prefer the physical format. And, as retailers like Circuit City and Borders close their doors, I fear for a day when we are unable to go to a physical store to browse. I wonder how this affects companies like the BBC that receive public funding, as well. Are they making the money off the home market that their leadership expects?