Tuesday 16 October 2018

Digital spend to take lead in €5.1bn Irish entertainment industry

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Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Digital spend will outpace non-digital spend in the Irish entertainment and media industry by 2020, according to a new report by professional services firm PwC.

Released today, the 'Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2018-2022' says that in four years' time, Ireland's total entertainment and media market is expected to be worth €5.1bn, comprised of digital and non-digital components of €2.64bn and €2.45bn respectively. Overall, the Irish entertainment industry is set to grow at an annual rate of 3.4pc to the year 2022.

The growth projection incorporates all Irish entertainment and media industry sectors, including internet and out-of-home advertising, TV subs and licenses, radio, video games, filmed entertainment, newspaper, book and magazine publishing.

As in previous years, the growth is being driven by increasing internet access and growth in online advertising. Internet access will continue to be the largest revenue stream within the Irish entertainment and media segment, growing 38pc in the four-year period to €1.46bn by 2022.

While Ireland continues to have fixed broadband coverage gaps, the expansion of next-generation infrastructure and the improving economy are driving the take-up of high-speed fixed services and pushing revenue steadily upwards, according to PwC.

Meanwhile, print media will experience smaller declines in advertising revenue during the period, with print advertising falling at a rate of 7.5pc.

In contrast, digital advertising is forecast to grow by 4.3pc, according to the report.

Amy Ball, partner at PwC Ireland Entertainment & Media Practice, said that the annual growth rate of 3.4pc in the industry presents "significant opportunities" for the industry in Ireland.

"There are three imperatives affecting every company in the industry; convergence, connecting with consumers and the need to build trust," Ms Bell added.

Over the next five years, the entertainment and media industry is expected to grow globally by 4.4pc per year.

The growth will see the industry's global revenue reach $2.4 trillion (€2.05tn) in 2022, up from $1.9tn (€1.63tn) in 2017.

According to PwC, growth in the Irish entertainment and media market lags behind the global forecast, largely due to Ireland experiencing less growth in the digitally-driven segments such as Over the Top (OTT) video, video games and e-sports, compared to other countries.

However, the lag in growth in OTT video, video games and e-sports in Ireland has been partially offset by higher domestic rates of growth in more traditional media forms such as books and music revenue, the report finds.

One area that has experienced a particularly strong breakthrough is the virtual reality (VR) market, which saw its revenue growing by over 350pc to $3.9bn (€3.3) in 2017. Ms Bell said: "While there is no data available yet on the penetration rates of this medium into the Irish market, there are clear first-mover opportunities available to companies in this space.

"In markets such as the US, UK and China, VR has now emerged as a viable long-term platform for unique, immersive experiences, attracting serious investment from media and technologies companies eager to seize a share of this market."

Irish Independent

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