Shares in ITV fell 4.1% on Monday after Britain’s biggest free-to-air broadcaster said Love Island will not broadcast a summer series this year because of coronavirus pandemic.
“We have tried every which way to make Love Island this summer but logistically it’s just not possible to produce it in a way that safeguards the wellbeing of everyone involved and that for us is the priority,” Kevin Lygo, ITV’s director of television said in a statement.
Lygo said the next series of the hit dating show will now take place in 2021, as travelling to a villa in Mallorca, Spain for filming was “out of the question”.
Love Island has proved popular among younger adults in recent years – averaging close to 6 million viewers for last summer’s series. Its appeal helped ITV to boost online revenues by 18% in the first half of the financial year, while total revenue fell 7%. The broadcasting company said the dating show had attracted nine commercial partners, including Uber Eats
and Superdrug, driving incremental revenue of £8 million year-on-year.
The news is the latest setback for ITV
, which in March scrapped its final dividend for 2019 and abandoned guidance for 2020 as a result of the slump in advertising revenue and a shutdown in its studio operations. The company also said it plans to cut its program budget by at least £100 million and reduce discretionary spending by £20 million.
Investors had hoped that ITV might attract takeover interest from either private equity or strategic bidders. However, on Monday Spain’s Telefónica
said it is in talks with U.S. tycoon John Malone’s cable group Liberty Global
over a possible merger of their U.K. operations, in a deal that would create a new television and mobile company with a combined value of almost £28 billion ($35 billion), including debt and synergies.
ITV, which is 10% owned by Liberty, won’t be included in the new venture, according to people familiar with the deal.