Australia’s entertainment market took a beating of “unprecedented” proportions during the pandemic. That’s the ugly news. On the flipside, the bounce-back has already begun.

That’s the gist of a new report published today by PwC, which analyses the performance of the wider entertainment and media industries in a year quite like no other.

The data bears that out. According to PwC’s 20th annual Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook, business fell by 3.6 percent across the board, with live music the hardest hit of all the sectors.

Last year, Australia’s live and recorded music market dipped to $1.1 billion, a shortfall of nearly 40 percent on the previous year.

The damage was almost entirely done by the suspension of the live music industry, which lost 90 percent of its revenue, for a value of just A$86 million.

Assuming the vaccine rollout picks up, the market is expected to recover in the years ahead, with total revenue is expected to rise to A$2.2 billion by 2025.

With most of the country currently in lockdown, it should come as no surprise that the immediate outlook for international touring this year is poor.

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Until international movements are “more fluid and conditions regarding 14-day quarantine are modified,” the report reads, “we are unlikely to see a return of the biggest world tours to Australia’s arenas, though confidence grows that this may be addressed from mid to late 2022.”

International acts such as KISS, Guns N’ Roses and Alanis Morrissette are booked for tours here in late 2021, though the success of these runs rest largely “on the ability for acts to quarantine safely for the prescribed period, and their ability to move between states that may have different lockdown requirements and travel restrictions at any given point in time.”

Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses

The winner in all this was, of course, digital.

As the fallout of the pandemic kept consumers indoors, the switch to digital platforms was dramatic.

Led by Spotify and Apple Music, Australia’s digital music market lifted by 8.3 percent in consumer revenue last year, although the rate of growth is slowing, due in part to the myriad options now at consumers’ fingertips, the report suggests.

Last year, the streaming video platforms stepped up, with Netflix, Amazon and Stan expanding their libraries, while Binge and BritBox stepped in, and Disney+ made a power play with try different business models, including a premium tier.

Spotify K-pop
As a direct result, internet advertising recorded growth of 3.3% in 2020, reaching A$9.3 billion and is forecast to grow at 5.5% over the forecast period to 2025.

The pandemic triggered the “sharpest contraction in Australian entertainment and media revenues in the history of the report,” explains Justin Papps, PwC Australia Partner and Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook Editor.

Those industries that have adapted to digital are well placed. The contraction of 2020 is “giving way to a solid rebound this year,”Papps continues, “and a return to 2019 revenue levels within the next few years for most parts of the industry, if not sooner.”

According to the report, consumer revenue is set to grow to A$52.6 billion in 2025, at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 3.3% while advertising revenue is set to grow to A$19.6 billion in 2025, at a CAGR of 2.6%.

To view the Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook, click here.  For the Global Entertainment and Media Outlook, click here.