Mobile internet access revenue will overtake that of fixed broadband in the UK in 2019 as 14.5 trillion megabytes of data are set be consumed on smartphones in 2021, a new report has predicted.

PwC’s new Global Entertainment & Media (E&M) Outlook, which covers everything from newspapers and magazines to esports and virtual reality has forecast that the entire UK E&M market will be worth £72 billion in 2021, up from £62 billion in 2016.

The professional services group predicts that, in terms of consumer spend, the internet access segment will experience 3.6 percent growth over the same period, reaching £14.1 billion in 2021.

Phil Stokes, UK Head of Entertainment & Media at PwC, said: “Government incentives and a more favourable regulatory environment for alternative operators should boost high speed fixed broadband penetration over the next five years to 77 percent by 2021, up from 17 percent by the end of 2016.”

But with 14.5 trillion megabytes of data set to be consumed on smartphones in 2021, he added: “With smartphone ownership forecast to increase over the same period and new players entering the mobile internet market, mobile internet access revenue is set to overtake fixed broadband as consumers spend more time online on their phones.”

“Traditional” TV and video services will remain the largest generators of E&M revenue in 2021, although they will fall 0.6 percent over the period to £9.5 billion.

In contrast, revenue from internet video is forecast to grow by nine percent, reaching £1.4 billion in 2021.

Stokes noted the importance of original content to this growth.

“While the vast back catalogue of shows is often credited as the reason for subscribing to internet video services, companies have invested heavily in producing original content,” he said.

“Four of the top 10 programmes watched via subscription video on demand in 2015 were original productions showing that for consumers, fresh, high quality, content is king.”

Virtual reality services are forecast to record the highest growth, with revenues set to grow 76 percent to £801 million in 2021.

“We forecast the number of virtual reality headsets in use in the UK will pass 16 million by 2021,” Stokes said.

“Around 12 million of these headsets will be portable mobile VR devices that use a smartphone at their core as these are more affordable for consumers and benefit hugely from the fast evolution and replacement rate of smartphones."

The report also predicted revenue growth for books, cinema, esports, music and video games.

However, revenue from magazines and newspapers is expected to fall.

Elsewhere in the report, PwC said the mobile internet advertising market is set to grow 17.1 percent to £8.1 billion.

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