Commissioning Love Island for 9Now and 9Go a ‘massive risk’ says Nine’s Adrian Swift

The decision to commission a multi-million dollar program for a multi channel and digital platform is a “massive risk”, according to Nine’s head of content production and development, Adrian Swift.

Despite the risk, Swift – the man behind the commissioning of Nine’s highly successful show Ninja Warrior last year – is hopeful the show will bring young Australians back to television.

He told Mumbrella the funding for the show, which comes from social, catch up and linear broadcast, was a first for the network, but said it was a “perfect” program for the local market.

Adrian Swift, Nine’s content boss with Sophie Monk, host of Love Island Australia last night at the launch

Nine’s decision to launch an Australian version of the popular UK dating show came after Nine ran the latest series on its 9Now platform last year. It was the most-binged show on 9Now in the history of the platform.

“It’s a massive risk, because you’ve got fewer eyeballs coming in, your return for a set of eyeballs is lower, which is just the way the Australian ad market is configured. All broadcast TV on main channels is a broad market play. This is the first pure demographic play we’ve done online,” he explained at last night’s Love Island launch.

“We’ve spent probably 15-20 years in this country, let’s call it 10 years or 15 since the multi channels, getting less money for channels that deliver a narrower demographic. We actually think the tide is turning and we are getting to the point where we actually think we can charge more for a more defined demographic.”

“The one fundamental thing you have to say about Love Island is it’s actually brought kids back to TV. They came back in a number of ways. They came back with linear broadcast, they mostly came back through catch up, they came back on social. But TV was the big marketing platform and people then assessed the show however they liked.”

The show will see young Australians venture to Majorca, Spain to ‘find love’. In order to win a sum of money, the Australians will have to couple up and convince the public to keep them on the island. The Australian version will be hosted by former Bachelorette star Sophie Monk.

Love Island will screen on 9Go and 9Now

At the launch, Swift described it as a show which captures “all of the things” Nine does.

“At the heart is this fantastic building, The Villa, which is a little like The Block. There’s all that fabulous heartfelt drama, chaos and tension, a little bit like Married At First Sight. It’s got a fantastic voiceover, not unlike Hamish & Andy, but best of all it’s got all the abs of Ninja. We think it’s a show that genuinely embodies everything we do and a lot more,” he told the audience.

Adding to this, Swift confirmed to Mumbrella that Nine would not change the format of the show for the Australian audience.

“We’ve sat with the UK market. It took them three series. Their first series was a mild success, their second series was a moderate hit, their third series went absolutely totally gangbusters that no one, the producers, the ad sales department, the people printing the t-shirts could keep up with it. That’s the series we are effectively taking on here,” he said.

“It’s a beautiful example of a hard core dating show with hotter people than you’ve ever seen in your life, somewhere you really want to go. What could possibly go wrong?”

While Swift would not confirm the length, frequency or cost of the new series, he did admit it wasn’t a “badly priced format”.

“The reality is that by now, the way you shoot these shows, we’ve learnt so much.

“With all these things the cost comes in getting the right place. So getting the right villa has been massively expensive and complicated and getting the right talent will be a long, torturous process.”

When asked about expectations for the show in terms of audience numbers, Swift said he would be looking both the VPM (video player measurement) and 9Go numbers would be of value to him.

“The reality is we monetise really well on VPM. That’s just as important to us as linear broadcast. This is a show where you’ll be looking at every way people consume the show because we will be looking to advertisers to monetise the show on every platform.”

“I reckon it’ll be about 30% VPM, 30% broadcast and 40% the rest.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.