Aug 7, 2019
What keeps people hooked on appointment TV?

The rise of on-demand streaming services supposedly sounded the death knell for traditional television, but bright spots have emerged even as live audiences have diminished. What gets people to tune into programmes at specific times rather than catching up at their own pace?

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“It is what it is” – five words that united the UK in glee over summer 2019 as Love Island disrupted evening plans and supercharged lexicons for the fifth series running. “The pop music may blare, but this is nothing if not a show of quiet human moments, where the real drama is in what they don’t say as they wash their bronzer off for bed and change into their night-time thongs,” wrote Lena Dunham about her obsession with the show. [1] What makes an audience of mainly adults tune in every night for months to watch a group of 20-somethings flex muscles and fall in and out of love? Is it Shakespearian, is it trash? More importantly, how does Love Island shed light on the formula for unmissable appointment TV?