Nine’s ‘Love Island Australia’ could be a game-changer for free-to-air networks
‘Love Island Australia.’
As free-to-air (FTA) broadcasters continue to fret about the migration of viewers to streaming services and other platforms, the Nine Network may have found one solution.
Nine’s gamble of commissioning the multi-platform series Love Island Australia is paying dividends, drawing a sizable number of 16-39 year-olds who rarely if ever watch FTA networks.
The ITV Studios Australia production is notching impressive figures encompassing live and catch-up viewing, online and on social media and has helped to boost sign-ups for 9Now to more than 6 million.
Launched on 9Go! and 9Now on May 27 and screening Sunday through Thursday at 8.30pm, the show based on a UK format sees young singles compete for a $100,000 prize on the island of Majorca over six weeks.
“It’s an expensive show for multi-platform but we have invested with an eye to the future,” Nine’s program director Hamish Turner tells IF. “We’re buoyed by the numbers so far. The initial response has been fantastic across live, catch-up and digital.
“We’re getting a lot of people who weren’t watching free-to-air. We believe the linear and digital audience will continue to grow. If the show continues to deliver what we thought it would, we’d definitely be looking to renew it.”
The first episode has racked up a total multiplatform audience of 695,000 viewers nationally, of whom 45 per cent viewed it on catch-up on 9Now, the highest level Nine has yet seen, while 170,000 watched it live on 9Go!
The week-on-week increase among the 16-39 demographic is 84 per cent. Since the launch the number of people who have registered as logged-in users of 9Now has jumped from just below 6 million to 6.145 million, which Turner credits chiefly to Love Island Australia.
The network says it is making more money on the show from the 9Now audience than on Married at First Sight because the ads are served on a 24-hour cycle.
It’s sparked a lively conversation on social media. Its Facebook page has numerous derogatory comments mocking the contestants’ intelligence, one guy’s inability to pronounce the word tapas and two who did not know the difference between a cucumber and a lettuce.
The reactions are far more positive on its YouTube page (where a ‘best of’ video has notched 2.1 million views) and on Instagram than on Facebook, which has an older following, Turner says.
“We’ve had a higher engagement across multiple platforms than any of our commercial competitors,” Turner adds. “This is a positive move forward for us as free-to-air in getting an audience where nothing had really targeted them in this space.”