- By Annabel Rackham
- entertainment reporter
It’s been a few weeks since the last Love Island winners were crowned, but once again it’s time to open those mansion doors.
Series 10 of the ITV2 dating show begins Monday night, and the producers will be hoping it will be more popular with viewers than the winter repeat.
Despite the positive response to new host Maya Jama, the show recorded a lower audience and less online commentary than previous series.
Trending on Twitter
One big change made for 2023 is that ITV bans contestants’ social networks run by friends or family while they’re on the show.
This inactivity policy is in place to protect islanders and those close to them from online bullying and abuse.
Reality TV and pop culture writer Nikki Onafuye says the downside is that savvy contestants can no longer take advantage of well-curated accounts to help boost popularity or engagement in the show. submit.
“The appeal of Love Island is the Twitter talk at 21:00 every night,” she told the BBC.
“Not having your social media-handling friends or family get in the way – you’ll miss [2022 contestant] Ikenna Ekwonna’s cousin tweeted the funniest things, created content that caused reactions and became trending on Twitter.”
Ms Onafuye, 27, said interest in the show has definitely dropped among her group of friends, mainly because they are no longer the same age as the show’s contestants.
“[In 2017] we watch the series because we’re looking for love, we want to see the romance on screen and hopefully one day we will,” she said.
“But now our age group has gone through those different relationships and we can see that what happens on Love Island doesn’t happen in real life – it’s fake for us.”
Ms Onafuye said her friends still love reality TV but are turning their attention to shows like Love is Blind or Marriage at First Sight.
“My friends are entering a new phase in their lives – we’re thinking about homes and kids and marriage and I think Love Island’s core audience is too.
“With these dating shows, you’re seeing genuine relationships where people are more interested in listening to people than just looking at physical attraction,” she said.
‘Inspire their audience’
Love Island’s views peaked between 2017 and 2019 – with about 3.5 million followers per night.
The most popular islanders often leave the mansion with over a million Instagram followers, giving them an instant platform to start their careers as influencers.
Contestants like Olivia Attwood in 2017, Dr Alex George in 2018 and Molly-Mae Hague in 2019 have become household names to many.
ITV’s new social media rules appear to have come to an end overnight that many previous contestants enjoyed, with many of the series nine cast leaving the show with around 100,000 followers.
Talent manager Jemma Epstein, who works with content creators at the DDA agency, said this makes things “fairer”.
“People from completely different industries join a reality TV show and appear [and] are offered incredible sums and big brand deals, while their content was previously just mirror selfies,” she told the BBC.
She said reality TV contestants can have a hard time being seen as “genuine and authentic” because they often promote fast fashion companies and other brands that don’t show personality. or their personal preferences.
“[Contestants] won’t know what’s going on with their account that their friends back home are running, they’ll just sign up with a management company and set up major brand endorsements on their behalf,” she said. more.
Ms. Epstein said that despite ITV’s new social media rules, the reality TV influencer model has lost popularity for a while as consumers seek more authenticity online. .
“The creators we look after are not here to be famous, they want to put out a really positive, uplifting message to inspire and help people,” she told the BBC.
“We want to make sure that our creators inspire their audience, stay motivated, and promote only products they’re passionate about, rather than accepting deals for money.”
She added that her company is “open” to working with reality stars, but that depends on their goals and “the kind of work they want to do”.