Going to the cinema ‘will soon be a niche hobby’

For many Britons, going to the cinema and curling up with a good book are two of life’s chief pleasures.

But these popular pastimes could be relegated to niche hobbies as people opt to watch Netflix or play video games instead.

By 2021, Britons will spend more money on computer games than they do to books, according to the report by accountancy firm PwC.

Britons are expected to spend £5.2billion-a-year on video games like Call of Duty and Minecraft by 2021, putting us behind only America, China, Japan and South Korea as the world’s biggest spenders on gaming.

Spending on books is also forecast to rise from £4.6billion last year, as young readers ditch ebooks for the more expensive kind made out of paper.

However, the UK’s book bill will still only reach £5billion, PwC said.

And reading for pleasure is not the only activity that is falling by the wayside.

Less than four years from now, people in the UK will devote more of their cash to television-streaming websites like Netflix and Amazon Prime than they do on going to the cinema, the study said.

People will spend £1.3billion on the box office, compared to £1.4billion on TV-on-demand services.

Streaming services have enjoyed a surge in popularity thanks to a glut of glossy new dramas such as The Crown on Netflix and Jeremy Clarkson’s The Grand Tour on Amazon.

Phil Stokes, PwC’s UK head of entertainment and media, said: ‘Companies have invested heavily in producing original content.

While spending on books is set to rise to £5billion by by 2021, it will be eclipsed by video games on £5.2billion, putting the fifth in global spending on electronic entertainment

While spending on books is set to rise to £5billion by by 2021, it will be eclipsed by video games on £5.2billion, putting the fifth in global spending on electronic entertainment

While spending on books is set to rise to £5billion by by 2021, it will be eclipsed by video games on £5.2billion, putting the fifth in global spending on electronic entertainment

‘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,’ he said.

The findings are likely to dismay traditionalists, but many youngsters have already made the switch.

Four out of ten youngsters aged between 8 and 19 watch streaming services more than they do ‘old-fashioned’ television, according to another report, by research firm MediaCom.

And two thirds of children aged between 8 and 12 have now have a smartphone – enabling them to watch TV on the move.

The spike in ownership has had a knock-on effect on the amount of time youngsters spend glued to their screens.

Last year, an Ofcom report found that youngsters now spend more time online than they do watching television.

Shockingly, it also found that under-fives now spend an average of four hours a day watching screens of one kind or another.