Love Island series 8 ‘will be the true litmus test of its popularity’
ITV2’s latest instalment of its seminal dating show is set to kick off next week, but are advertisers and brands falling out of love with Love Island?
As this year’s Love Island contestants are revealed, the dating show usually attracts particular interest from advertisers and media buyers as an increasingly rare commodity in network TV: it has drawn hard-to-reach younger viewers to live TV content, especially the 16-24 age category.
The show has attracted partnerships with major brands; this year’s series has an official coffee partner (Emmi Caffe Latte), network sponsor (O2), returning beauty sponsor (Boots), its first pre-loved fashion sponsor (eBay replacing fast fashion sponsors), and its first “fan partner” in Reddit. Just Eat has been the lead sponsor since 2019.
Mark Hewitt, AV director at the UK’s largest independent media agency the7stars, said more than 60% of its advertiser clients are looking to Love Island as their number-one programme choice for June/July.
“The return of Love Island is great for our clients,” Hewitt said. “Delivering linear reach across young adult audiences is increasingly challenging and as that trend continues, programmes like Love Island are special. They become the welcome oases in a schedule otherwise bereft of programmes that still resonate with this demo and it’s no surprise then, that uptake of this show is still significant year-on-year.”
The7stars has also seen “significant uptake” of Love Island for packages on Planet V, ITV’s self-serve ad-buying platform for streaming service ITV Hub.
Four screen viewing data from BARB going back to August 2018 showed the majority of viewing of Love Island was on TV sets, with viewing on PC/laptop, smartphone and tablets making up under a third of total viewing for most episodes.
According to BARB data produced by Mediatel Connected, Love Island TV set viewing peaked in series 5 in an episode airing on 23 July 2019 with 4.55 million viewers.
The dating show’s lowest peak for TV set viewers was in series 2 at 0.22 million viewers for one episode on 10 June 2016.
Bryony Lawler, head of AV at Publicis Groupe media agency Starcom, highlighted the show’s viewership has increased over time, commenting: “Love Island is a unique TV programme in that it is one of the rare examples of a show which has increased its viewership over time, rather than following the usual trend of a programme’s audience declining each year.”
She added: “Up to, and including, 2019 this was the case. In 2020 there was no summer series of Love Island and in 2021 the series was competing with the delayed Euros along with the first summer without Covid restrictions. For these reasons I believe the 2022 series of Love Island will be the true litmus test of the show’s popularity.”
Even if ratings see a downward trend this series, Lawler predicted the show will remain popular with advertisers looking to reach younger audiences watching live linear or livestreamed content.
Goodstuff Communications’, meanwhile, has seen “a slight slowdown in demand” from advertisers for Love Island compared to last year, which is line with a broader slowdown in TV interest with revenues down after consistent growth in the market over the last 18 months.
Creative partner Simeon Adams said: “Love Island is expensive generally, so brands that might have dipped a toe in previous years are increasingly finding it hard to justify if it’s not a central part of their advertising strategy.”
Adams stressed that Goodstuff expected audiences to remain strong for Love Island but noted: “Audiences want a level of authenticity which Love Island struggled to deliver for the last few years, so casting, production and the rest needs a revamp, especially as previous contestants appeared more interested in the Love Island endorsement pipeline than finding love. Hopefully, we’ll see a return to form, while the format continues to adapt to remain current.”
Love Island series 8 will be broadcast from Monday 6 June on ITV2 and ITV Hub.