“14 Love Islands and 34 Bodyguards” needed to stem decline of broadcast viewing, says Ofcom

Traditional broadcasters still outstrip streaming services — but that's set to change, predicts the regulator

Jack Fincham and Dani Dyer on Love Island 2018

Public broadcasters remain the home of Britain’s most-watched television series — but even the success of shows like Love Island and Bodyguard last year hasn’t stopped the general decline in broadcast TV viewing, according to Ofcom.

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While the average daily viewing of traditional broadcast services dropped by 11 minutes last year, for streaming services that figure rose to 26 minutes, the broadcasting regulator revealed in its latest Media Nations report.

The five traditional UK broadcasters (BBC1, BBC2, Channel 4, ITV/STV and Channel 5) clung on to the top spot with a combined 52 per cent of viewing figures, but streaming services are catching up — and the equivalent of 14 Love Island series or 34 additional Bodyguard series would have been needed to “counteract” that decline, claims Ofcom.

Richard Madden in Bodyguard header shot
Richard Madden in Bodyguard

“To counteract the overall drop in broadcast viewing since 2017, about 34 additional series of Bodyguard would need to have been broadcast in 2018,” Ofcom revealed in its findings.

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“Similarly, although ITV2’s Love Island gained large audiences in June and July 2018, about 14 Love Islands would be required to counteract the year-on-year drop in broadcast viewing.”

“Drama of the decade” Bodyguard was the most-watched in 2018, with 14.3 million viewers tuning in for the final episode.

In the same year Love Island broke records for ITV2, becoming the most-watched show in the channel’s history and more than doubling its launch-night audience in the space of a year. This year over three million viewers tuned in live to watch Amber and Greg take the 2019 Love Island crown, while the eight-week-long series averaged 5.7 million viewers per episode — a year on year increase of 600k viewers.