It’s back. Three weeks in and across the country people have already decided on their favourites in this summer’s instalment of Love Island – the reality show that’s as marmite as it is muggy.

And it has returned with a bang this year. The first episode on 4th June pulled in live peak figures of 3.3m and an average of 2.9m individuals, according to DS Media. This increase in views, up 154% year-on-year, made it ITV2’s most-watched programme ever. To put this into perspective, an average episode last year had a live viewership of 1.1m, peaking at 2.8m individuals.

What’s more, 2018’s successful opening episode managed to reach the tougher younger audience, with 1.5m 16-34-year-olds tuning in to give the show a 48% share of viewing (SOV) for the evening.

Viewers are once again absorbing the content on different platforms. A cutesie peak of 480,000 individuals watched via simulcast live on ITV Hub, overtaking the 360,000 who watched England’s
ill-fated EURO 2016 clash with Iceland to make it the largest ever live event on the platform. The viewing figures also increased on linear television on catch-up by a further 1m individuals at peak and 700k individuals on average.
Social media has been inundated with updates on the latest goings on since the show started, with Love Island dominating the list of most tweeted about shows each week. Data from Kantar Media reveals that on Tues 19th June, 34.5k unique users cracked on and produced a not-too-muggy 85.2k tweets.

After last year’s exceptional performance at reaching the hard-to-target young adult audience, it seems that even more brands have done bits and decided to align themselves with the show this year. ITV are working with ten brands in  a variety of different ways in 2018 compared with three in the show’s 2017 run.

With the success of last year’s show, ITV launched a daily breakfast podcast (Love Island – The Morning After), presented by Arielle Free and last year’s winner Kem Cetinay. Sponsored by Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, it is currently at the top of the podcast charts. Main sponsor Superdrug has returned, as has Primark to promote its clothing range, and Ministry of Sound, which as well as having its annual villa party, will also be producing an album based on the show.

On the whole, it’s been all good vibes for ITV2 as a station, with June currently being its strongest month of the year in terms of impacts, averaging 3.8m individual impacts (up 52% year-on-year) and 12.3 Hw+Ch TVRs – almost the same as ITV’s Saturday peak-time show The X Factor (16.4 Hw+Ch TVRs)
and almost double the amount for Take Me Out
(7.4 Hw+Ch TVRs).

As of today, Love Island 2018 has continued to keep the ball rolling on last year’s success. The show has not only become a media monster for brands but also a vehicle for  social change, epitomised by last years finalist’s Chris Hughes’ L’Eau D’Chriscampaign supported by Topman and CALM, which tackled the issue of male mental health.

With only a month left of the show to air, there is no reason to prang out just yet as the format has been sold to countries including Germany, Australia and Finland. Mike Beal of ITV Studios mentions that the show will air “somewhere around the world every single day between now and Christmas” – so it looks all
set for Jack and Dani to become this year’s Mother and Father Christmas.