Virtual reality is expected to boost the value of the UK’s entertainment and media sector to £72 billion by 2021.

According to PwC’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2017-2021, VR will be the fastest-growing area with revenue set to increase 76 per cent year on year.

It said VR could be worth £801 million to this country by 2021, making the UK market the largest in the VR industry in the EMEA region (Europe, the Middle East and Africa).

PwC’s UK head of entertainment and media Phil Stokes said most people will access VR using mobile devices.

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

“Dedicated home VR headsets – the higher end devices used for gaming and video – will account for three million consumer headsets.

"Portable dedicated headsets – a new category of self-contained device that are easier to use and have superior capabilities to smartphone-based devices – forecast to account for one million.”

The UK’s video games industry is set to remain Europe’s largest market and the fifth largest globally behind the US, China, Japan and South Korea. By 2021 it is forecast to be worth £5.2bn.

UK consumer spend on video games is set to overtake all spending on books, which will reach £5bn by 2021.

Stokes added: “With the creative industry being identified as a priority area in the Government’s industrial strategy, entertainment and media, particularly digital services, will continue to innovate further and drive prosperity and culture throughout the country.”

OPINION: Are you prepared for the second coming of VR?

Advertising will be the biggest contributor to entertainment and media growth, accounting for a third of total revenue by 2021.

With the PwC Outlook forecasting 89m smartphones to be in use in the UK by 2021, advertising spend will be increasingly directed to mobile.

The UK is home to the largest internet advertising market in Europe, and will continue to be so for the next five years. Internet advertising revenues will surpass £10bn for the first time this year and are forecast to reach £14.4bn in 2021.

At that time mobile advertising will overtake wired advertising to account for more than half of total internet advertising revenue.

Stokes added: “The UK’s entertainment and media sectors will play an important role in economic growth over the next five years.

“Technology and digital service continues to dictate growth with companies tapping into where and how consumers are spending their time online.

“With consumers having more control and greater choice, companies will need to find new ways to stand out and engage with customers.”

BELOW: Read all about VR in sport in the Q2 2017 edition of BusinessCloud's interactive digital magazine

E-edition cover