UK to surpass Germany as Europe’s top entertainment and media market

The United Kingdom is projected to overtake continental heavyweight Germany as the biggest entertainment and media (E&M) market next year, according to projections by PwC.

The crown is expected to travel across the North Sea at some point in 2023, as detailed in the accountancy firm’s Global Entertainment & Media report, which values the UK E&M market at £83bn this year, with further growth of 4% per annum through to 2026 – the second-fastest rate of growth of any western European market. If everything plays out as expected, UK E&M will have risen to £97bn at the end of this forecast period.

The bullish prognosis is founded on the UK’s position as a leading creator of content and an enthusiastic population of advanced digital adopters combined with readily-available high-speed internet access – notably mobile internet, which should leapfrog broadband access next year courtesy of 5G, accounting for 53% of total internet access revenue by 2026.

The UK will also retain its position as the largest virtual reality (VR) market in Europe, principally in gaming / Adobe Stock

This is already delivering knock-on advantages for advertisers looking to reach digitally-savvy shoppers, a shift that has seen the majority of British businesses deploy the bulk of their advertising budgets online. As a result internet advertising will grow to £26bn this year and a further 6% per annum through to 2026, when it will account for a third of all E&M revenue. At this point, mobile internet advertising will account for two-thirds of internet advertising revenues.

Mary Shelton Rose, partner and UK technology, media and telecoms leader at PwC, said: “A vision of what the dynamic E&M landscape will look like in 2026 is coming into focus – an industry that is more digital, mobile and dependent on advertising in all its forms.”

Another bright spot for the UK is over-the-top-video (OTT) as not only the largest such market in Europe but the third greatest globally, behind only the US and China. Across the forecast period, UK OTT revenue is expected to grow by 6% each year from a base of £3.6bn this year.

The UK will also retain its position as the largest virtual reality (VR) market in Europe, principally in gaming.

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