ITV is hoping Love Island will smash previous revenue records for its 2021 return, a year in which brands being are charged £100,000 per TV ad, according to a report in The Guardian.
The broadcaster's flagship reality show is making a comeback to UK TV screens on 28 June, with nine commercial partners signed up. Lead sponsor Just Eat returns, while there are four new partners: JD Sports, Boots, Tinder and WKD.
Love Island's return – which was recently promoted in an ad spot – will be watched closely by many viewers, as well as its detractors, who argue that the show – and the celebrity culture it promotes – is dangerous to the mental health of contestants. The issue became widely discussed after two former contestants, and presenter Caroline Flack, took their own lives.
But ITV has pointed to its recently updated "duty of care protocols", which explain measures it takes to ensure contestants are mentally prepared, that they are looked after during production and given aftercare post-show. The broadcaster has also won many plaudits and awards for its ongoing "Britain get talking" campaign by Uncommon Creative Studio, which promotes a more open and receptive culture for people with mental health issues.
According to The Guardian, all nine sponsorship deals were clinched before the reopening of the UK economy in March, while ITV has invested significantly in the show, manifest in two new apps: an interactive fictional story called Love Island: The Drama and a fitness app.
In May, ITV forecast that ad revenue would bouncing back by 95% last month and up to 90% this month, thanks largely to Love Island and Euro 2020 coverage.
The broadcaster is also producing a range of merchandise for sale on its online store, including a personalised tote bag and water bottle priced at £20.
The Guardian quoted Kelly Williams, ITVs managing director, commercial. "We do partner associations on many shows but Love Island always has the most, and the most demand," he said.
"We were selling this before Boris announced the roadmap, before we had any idea where the show would be filmed, and we sold out.
"That demonstrates the demand – we are really, really pleased. The commercial value overall will be more than pre-pandemic, the most we've ever made from Love Island."
Williams said he was "quietly confident" that Love Island would attain the audience heights of previous years, which averaged 5.9 million in the last series.
In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org