The old year is almost over. Old technologies can take longer to die and the timing is unpredictable. Sony announced it was stopping production of Betamax tapes in 2015, for example, more than 30 years after it lost a format war with VHS. Most investors expect technologies to run off steeply. CDs are their model. Sales have dropped 92% since a 2000 peak in the US, though they still dominate in Japan, where streaming has been slow to take off. In the UK only two in five people listen to CDs. Only a fifth regularly buy new ones. But old formats often put up a better fight than expected. This creates opportunities and pitfalls for investors. Sales of ebooks, once predicted to overtake printed books, have fallen since 2014. Now the small but fast-growing audio download format is worrying publishers. New technology — cloud services — threatens to make game consoles redundant. But sales of console games are still growing strongly and 5G may support them. Even retro consoles are in vogue. ...

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