U.K. broadcaster ITV is planning an editorial review of its hugely popular show “Love Island,” after it drew a large number of complaints from members of the public to media regulator Ofcom.
In the last two weeks alone, the show has attracted 5,623 complaints to Ofcom, mainly related to alleged bullying and misogynistic behavior from some of the male contestants.
In response to a question from Variety, during an earnings call following ITV posting half-year revenues of $2 billion, Kevin Lygo, managing director, ITV Studios, said: “We continually assess the program as it’s going on, because it’s one of these odd, every night live shows. But when the series comes to an end, on Monday, we will always sit down and review what we think about it, what the reaction’s been, how well it’s done.”
Lygo added: “It’s the best one we’ve had in many years. And I think everyone’s thoroughly enjoying it. To get five million people to watch your show every single night at nine o’clock is extraordinary in the modern era. So something’s being done right. But… we must always look to improve and work on what we’ve done. But we’re very happy with the way it’s gone so far.”
Elsewhere on the call, the imminent launch of free, ad-funded streaming service ITVX was also discussed, with ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall calling the new service “a highly differentiated consumer proposition.”
“Not only is it free to view, its high quality content,” said McCall. “It’s British originated content, of course. It’s all of our linear channels, but in addition to that, it’s got something fresh and new, every single week, dropping on your screen.”
Lygo said: “We must stress always — it is free. And as we head into difficult times, it’s got to be a compelling reason to watch it.”
“The thing about most streamers, is they are predominantly American shows, which is great, but when you want British productions, then I think ITVX will be the place to go because there’ll be so many familiar ones and new ones ready for you all the time,” Lygo added.
The proposed U.K. broadcasting bill, which will update the 2003 Communications Act to reflect the emergence of global streaming platforms, was supposed to be introduced in the U.K. parliament before the summer recess, but the dramatic resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the subsequent leadership hustings saw that delayed. “It’s really important for the broadcast ecology of Britain for that to be to go through as law,” McCall said.