This year Love Island proved to many that TV still retains its “pulling power”. For too long the messages emerging from the advertising industry have been that TV audiences are in decline, and that Digital Online media is the pre-eminent choice for modern marketers. ITV and Channel 4 have pitched running battles with the likes of Facebook and YouTube about the validity of such claims. TV needed a bona fide success story to prove however that it was still relevant, particularly to millennial audiences who we are told are increasingly migrating away from linear TV.
Cue a show which has made instant stars of a hairdresser from Romford, a former member of So Solid Crew Blazin Squad and a whole host of by now well beloved characters. This year’s final, before consolidation, averaged 2.43m viewers on ITV2 (excluding ITV2+1), despite going up against Game of Thrones in the schedule. That’s a huge 87% YoY increase.
So why has this series been so popular? The fact that ITV harnessed the power of social media throughout production of the show (#s galore) is certainly a contributing factor. There is however also one very stereotypical influence that needs to be considered – football. Last year in the absence of Premier League football, audiences were able to sate their appetite watching Euro 2016 (no matter how poor England’s performance). This year however, in the absence of a major tournament, men of all ages have flocked to Love Island. In fact, YoY growth in the average Love Island audience for all men stands at +189%.
So, with the return of football in 2018 with the Russian World Cup, will Love Island be able to maintain such strong viewing figures? I have my doubts, but do not let that take away from the success of the 2017 series!