Love Island beats politics when it comes to most engaging television content

New data published today by Kantar Media shows that reality television has driven the highest level of social media engagement over the course of the past year, closely followed by current affairs programmes.

Kantar Media measured engagement amongst UK viewers between 1st December 2017 and 30th November 2018. The insight is taken from Kantar Social TV Ratings, which was launched in 2014 as the official metric for understanding, analysing and benchmarking the impact of social media on TV viewing habits.

Over the 12-month period studied, there was a total of 75 million Tweets, resulting in an enormous 28 billion overall impressions. Entertainment programmes are the most tweeted about on the whole, attracting 32 million Tweets during the period, followed by drama (20m) and current affairs (13m).

Despite the nation’s interest in live programmes, the data also suggests that viewers have been making increasing use of streaming services and on-demand viewing opportunities. Three-quarters of all TV-related Twitter activity during the year-long period occurred outside of broadcast windows, amounting to 17 billion impressions and 99 million likes.

The Love Island appeal

Kantar Media’s data reveals that Love Island was the most talked about television series on Twitter in 2018, with a total of 6.3m Tweets, 18m likes and just under 60% of all interactions taking the form of retweets.

According to additional insights, taken from Kantar Media’s TGI consumer survey, one million adults agree with the statement: ‘I specially choose’ to watch Love Island, 74% of whom are women. The programme is particularly popular amongst those who are young and without children as well as parents with young children. Two extremes of the country find Love Island particularly compelling, with those in the North East 31% more likely to be fans and those in the South West 34% more likely to be fans.

When looking at brand engagement around Love Island, clothes brand and sponsor Missguided featured most highly. 15,000 Tweets around Love Island also mentioned Missguided; while 6,800 mentioned tech sponsor Samsung and 2,400 mentioned drinks brand and sponsor Lucozade. Missguided was equally popular across Instagram, forums and blog posts referring to Love Island, making up 56% of all brand mentions.  

The remainder of the top five television series on Twitter list was made up by current affairs programmes, including Question Time (with 2.5m Tweets), Good Morning Britain (1.8m) and The Andrew Marr Show (1.6m). Daily Politics (1.5m Tweets) came in sixth, just behind Doctor Who.

The top 20 Individual Broadcast list was dominated almost entirely by Love Island, with the first episode of the new series taking third place (with 205,000 Tweets), behind annual live music events The Eurovision Song Contest (841,000 Tweets) and The Brit Awards (229,000 Tweets). The series finale took fifth place (with 151,000 Tweets) behind the series launch of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! (162,000 Tweets). The Great British Bake Off and Celebrity Big Brother entered the top 20 list, in positions 14 and 15 respectively. 


2018 was feted as the ‘year of the launch’, with hugely hyped new shows including The Bodyguard and Informer making their debuts, while well-known favourites Doctor Who, Orange is the New Black and The Handmaid’s Tale released new series. However, of these, only Doctor Who made a significant impact on Twitter, coming in at number five in the top series with 381 million total impressions.

Alongside The Bodyguard, which featured at number seven (42m overall impressions), the list of Series Launches was dominated by popular entertainment shows. Love Island Series 4 topped the ranking with 206,000 Tweets, followed by I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! (162,000) at second; Celebrity Big Brother (77,000) third and The X Factor fourth (63,000).

Andy Brown, Global CEO, Kantar Media UK & Ireland, commented: “What is truly interesting is the way in which our data highlights the strong attachment consumers have with their favourite television programmes, even outside of the broadcast window. More than ever, consumers are using social media to communicate about television programmes at a time that suits them. For brands and advertisers, this serves to reiterate the opportunity offered by multi-channel engagement and the need for a connected intelligence approach to measure its impact; using social media platforms to become a part of the conversations they know their audiences are already having, at the right time and in the right place.”


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