The growth in mobile internet connections is a bigger global disruption than the industrial revolution, the UK Head of PwC’s Entertainment & Media division has said.
Phil Stokes made the comments as the professional services firm released a report showing that the UK is set to overtake Germany as the biggest entertainment and media market in the EMEA region.
The number of mobile internet connections already outnumber fixed connections by three to one, according to the report, and are projected to rise by over five billion to seven billion in the next five years.
These figures differ from those of the GSMA, which says there are already 4.8 billion individual mobile subscribers.
In comparison, the industrial revolution impacted 20 million people over a 60-year period, PwC said.
The UK will become Europe's largest market for mobile internet access in terms of revenue in 2020, reaching £6.8 billion.
However, when sales from fixed broadband (£6.2 billion) are added, the UK will be overtaken by France in 2018 in terms of total internet access revenues.
Nevertheless, the UK's entertainment and media market will be worth £62.8 billion next year, overtaking Germany’s £58.6 billion.
In addition to internet access, this market comprises books, magazines, newspapers, cinema, advertising, radio, music, TV/video and gaming.
The number of UK households subscribing to a TV or video service is forecast to grow from 16.3 million at the end of 2015 to 18 million by 2020.
Satellite companies will continue to take the largest share, ahead of cablecos and telcos, but their growth will slow.
In 2020, households subscribing to a satellite service will reach 9.9 million, those with a cableco four million and those with a telco 3.6 million.
Collectively, this will push subscription revenues up two percent to £5.4 billion.
Stokes said: “Internet access combined with tablet and smartphone penetration has created a golden age for individuals interacting with media and the appetite of UK consumers shows no signs of slowing.
“It's increasingly clear that consumers see no significant divide between digital and traditional media: what they want is more flexibility, freedom and convenience in when and how they consume any kind of content.
“Put simply, today's entertainment and media industry is about consumer choice, innovation and experience, irrespective of whether delivery is digital or non-digital.
“Mastering these three elements is now critical to commercial success – and to sustaining future growth.
“Melding what people watch to what people buy can unlock a treasure trove of insight for media companies across the ecosystem.”