Reality TV phenomenon Love Island has returned to ITV for its first winter series, and is already providing viewers in the UK with a window into the love lives of the show’s beautiful contestants.
While the show has had its fair share of controversies, it is essential for ITV’s business model. Estimates suggest that the TV company generated more than £77 million in ad revenue from the series last year and is keen to cash in on that success again.
Launching the show in the depths of winter, however, is seen as a risk by many. Last year, the show capitalised in summer-related products with a Superdrug sponsorship advertising sunscreen and Jet2 ads for cheap flights. This year, that is no longer an option.
ITV, therefore, is looking for new opportunities to generate revenue through the show. Company commercial director Simon Daglish says that the TV channel has “had to take a different view.” It’s no longer about summer, sand, and holidays. Love Island has to generate money through different means.
To this end, ITV has signed agreements with both Universal Music and Spotify to work together for purposes of mutual promotion. Universal Music will provide music from its cadre of artists and deploy songs during particular types of scenes throughout the series. Spotify will also benefit from co-branded ads through ITV’s on-demand digital service, forwarding viewers to the “Sounds of Love Island” playlist on the music giant’s platform.
With these agreements, ITV is taking integration with third-party sponsors to a new level. Universal Music, for instance, must supply one of its artists to make a guest appearance on the show.
ITV is also working with rising social media platform TikTok to create a series of short episodes to air in the morning to get viewers excited for the evening show. TikTok will host exclusive content for Love Island on its platform in exchange for brand exposure.
ITV knows that these agreements with Universal Music, Spotify and TikTok are a make or break moment for the company. For a television channel used to providing ad space in a particular way, these new arrangements are a big leap into the unknown.
Executives at the TV operator are hoping that their gamble will pay off. The new approach to advertising, they believe, will engage viewers for longer, make them happier and encourage them to spend money on products that they actually want.Whether a winter series will be a success is still a matter of debate. Bosses at ITV say that they are feeling confident that the show will gain traction and will deliver decent advertising performance, but they also know the risks. The hope is that Love Island will provide viewers with a form of escapism from the January blues, but this kind of programming is highly seasonal. Watching beautiful people frolicking on desert islands is usually something best reserved for the summer months – not the depths of winter. Nonetheless, these new advertising arrangements represent a bold new direction for the company and could be an indication of what we can expect in the future.