Over the summer, a week’s worth of soaps were released early on ITV Hub during Euro 2020 to soften the blow of schedule clashes
There could be a serious shake-up in store for soap fans after ITV boss hinted at future changes in the schedule.
Over the summer, a week’s worth of soaps were released early on ITV Hub during Euro 2020 to soften the blow of schedule clashes.
Following the success of the temporary measure, ITV boss Kevin Lygo has suggested that there could be a more permanent shift towards doing the same in the future.
Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, he said: “On soaps – it’s possible [that the soaps could stream on the hub first], it’s a possible future.
“For us, part of the restructure and its effect on commissioning is that we wanted to bring together in one place all aspects of what used to be called broadcasting, so the commercial programming and delivery so that it is more in line with modern behaviour and tastes.
“ITV is incredibly successful at getting large numbers of people to come and watch the show at the same time.
“During the Euros we saw over 20 million people watching the England game, I think 98% of all the programmes over 5 million people watching are on ITV. We are doubling down on that. It’s more live, more big events, more shows we believe will unite large swathes of the British public.”
He added that he is keen to make ITV’s on demand offering “come alive”, which he said would mean “slightly adapting the sort of programme” they are making.
Lygo continued: “We are moving into drama for ITV2. Its first drama in a decade. We are doing more factual on ITV2 aimed at younger viewers.”
A full week’s worth of episodes for Coronation Street and Emmerdale were released early on Mondays for four weeks over the football tournament from June 14.
It comes after The Mirror revealed in March that soaps had suffered a huge drop in ratings as Netflix continues to lure fans in.
Ratings for the first eight weeks of 2021 have shown that overall TV viewing is down by 9% compared with the first two months of 2017, as audiences are increasingly drawn away by the likes of Netflix and Amazon and by catch-up services such as iPlayer and All 4.
But for the soaps, the drop was far steeper. Coronation Street ’s audience has fallen by 19% in those four years, while Emmerdale’s is down by 22% and EastEnders has dropped by 37%.
Lygo has also confirmed that Love Island has “many more years” despite a ratings fall and confirmed I’m A Celebrity will return to Australia next year.
Although 2.8 million people tuned in to watch Liam Reardon and Millie Court be crowned winners this week, that was down 22% on the last summer series, in 2019.
Asked if the best days of the show were behind it, Lygo said: “I think this is a pattern that you see when new programmes come along and they are huge phenomenons. On catch-up it’s… the best performing series ever.”
*Coronation Street and Emmerdale air weekday evenings on ITV