As the first full week back at work finally draws to a close, Love Island fans will be looking forward to the return of the ITV reality show on Sunday.
It is the first time the broadcaster will be running the show over the winter. But off the back of the success over the past five years – the 2019 finale pulled in four million viewers and Campaign reported that the broadcaster is likely to have made about £77m in ad revenue for the series – it’s no wonder ITV wants to cash in on two series a year.
Once again, noise around the show is rising in the run-up to the launch – a video of the contestants has had almost 500,000 views in four days. To date, the equivalent film ahead of last summer’s series has gained more than two million views.
The winter show could be seen as a risk for ITV in terms of sponsors – the summer series lends itself to partnerships around swimwear and sunscreen, for example. And then there’s the question of whether viewers at home during the British winter would be interested in watching a dozen young people sunning themselves trying to find "love" in South Africa.
But Ruth Cartwright, managing partner for delivery at Carat, said the new programme will offer a "form of escapism from a miserable January". She added: "I have always said it would be madness for ITV not to create another space in its schedule for Love Island. Series six brings winter Love Island to our screens and can be expected to perform just as well as the summer version."
That said, the ITV commercial team is treading carefully. "It’s the first time for a winter Love Island, so we are being naturally cautious," Simon Daglish, group commercial director, explained. "We have had to take a different view."
As a result, there is no sunscreen sponsor (Superdrug last year) and nor is there an airline one (Jet2). But Daglish has created what he called an "integrated partnership" for music after noticing the uptick on music-streaming platforms when the show had played a song at a key moment.
ITV has signed up Universal Music and Spotify to work in tandem. The former will provide a selection of its artists who have chosen some of their tracks to be used to highlight the moments – this could be anything from the start of a new relationship or a break-up. One of these artists will also make a guest appearance for a party in the villa.
In addition, when the tracks from Universal Music artists are played on the show, ITV will have co-branded ads on video-on-demand platforms pushing to a "Sounds of Love Island" playlist on Spotify.
Social media platform TikTok has also signed up as a sponsor for the short videos that ITV releases each morning to gain interest for that evening’s episode. The platform will host the exclusive content on the new Love Island TikTok page.
These new agreements also include the summer series. Just Eat has already signed a two-year deal to be headline sponsor, while I Saw It First is also returning as a sponsor to provide clothing for contestants and Lookfantastic is the new beauty sponsor.
Cartwright said the new Universal, Spotify and TikTok partnerships will lead to "more viewers for longer, who will engage and, more importantly, happily spend their money on products".
"This revenue for ITV and partners alone is worth their involvement," she added.
But does Daglish think the winter series will be a success? While not wishing to make predictions, he was "feeling confident" after seeing the traction the show has had since the release of the contestants video – even if his teenage children are annoyed because they didn't fancy anyone in the line-up.