Monday 17 December 2018

'Love Island' gives ITV investors a timely boost

Love Island chronicles the budding relationships among a group of 20-somethings shipped to the Mediterranean island of Mallorca
Love Island chronicles the budding relationships among a group of 20-somethings shipped to the Mediterranean island of Mallorca

ITV's shares have been driven by volatile advertising revenue and merger speculation in the past year, and there may be some swimsuit-powered surprises to follow.

The UK broadcaster's reality show 'Love Island' secured 2.9 million viewers for the first episode of its fourth season on Monday night, the highest rating for the ITV2 channel on record.

Viewer numbers were above the previous season's finale and more than double the number for last year's opener, the company said in a statement.

A further 480,000 people turned to ITV's online stream to watch the show, which chronicles the budding relationships among a group of 20-somethings shipped to the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. The series runs for eight weeks.

"While all the focus has been on World Cup advertising, 'Love Island''s return should also help, and the fact that audience numbers have been so strongly up may attract late advertising money into the market," Ian Whittaker, an analyst at Liberum, said in a note yesterday. With "extremely high margin" from the online streaming and viewer demographics of the show skewing toward the younger age group of 16 to 34-year-olds, the performance "bodes well for the profit contribution to ITV", Mr Whittaker said.

The shares rose as much as 1.7pc yesterday after Liberum's comments. They are up about 3pc, slightly under-performing Europe's Stoxx 600 media index.

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