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A new report from Verdict Research predicts that the download market will grow from £112m to almost £500m by 2011.
The analyst group believes growth in legal music and video downloads will give a lift to the embattled music industry, which after a 5% fall in spending in 2005, faces an expected decline of 1.7% this year.
The report predicts the downloading market will reach £468m by 2011, thanks to increased broadband penetration, and the required technology reaching a mass market.
The emerging video download market is also expected to contribute to growth, and is expected to account for around a third of the download market in 2011.
Verdict's senior retail analyst Alastair Lockhart says:
“Over the past year digital downloading has really started to capture the imagination of customers."
"The increasing availability of high speed internet access is encouraging more consumers to experiment, downloading songs to their MP3 players using the ever increasing number of new site becoming available."
"Looking ahead, as well as continued growth of music downloads, Verdict forecasts significant growth in video downloading.”
Verdict predicts a return to growth for the music industry after a slight decline in 2007, and annual growth of 1.3% to be achieved between 2006 and 2011.