England landing the Ashes was superb, not just for the team and the whole country but also for a plethora of media owners. Sales of newspapers were boosted on the back of the win and Sky Sports' coverage of the final stages of the last Test brought in around 1.9 million viewers, while Five's highlights show attracted a record audience. Following England's fortunes online and through mobile phone services also seemed an improved experience this time round as media groups pump more resources into these channels.
ESPN's Premier League coverage
We've enjoyed the start ESPN has made to its Premier League broadcasts. Its efforts have been polished and solid rather than spectacular but given some of the goofs made last season by established football broadcasters, such as ITV, this in itself is no mean feat. The host, Ray Stubbs, solidly anchors the broadcasts while ESPN hasn't been afraid to get the chequebook out to secure the services of pundits such as Kevin Keegan. Perhaps, due to its cosy relationship with Sky, ESPN also seems to be getting better games to show than Setanta ever did.
Marie Claire's cinema tie-up
The new-look Marie Claire is cleverly wooing its readers with a date at the movies. The IPC title is holding preview screenings of films every month, kicking off with Julie And Julia starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. Readers who manage to get tickets to the screenings through the title's website can also get their hair done in a pamper parlour in the cinema. A chick flick and a styling session? It doesn't get girlier. The shrewd marketing move is in partnership with Vue Cinemas and Pearl & Dean.
The return of The X Factor
We enjoyed the return of The X Factor on ITV1 last Saturday. Not only did the show provide a welcome ratings boost for the broadcaster but some prize entertainment for viewers who have been starved of good Saturday night content throughout the summer. The early rounds of the show are also more hilarious, and last week was no exception, as we gazed in amazement at the chunky girl duo Sister Act as they auditioned.
AND ONE THING WE DON'T ...
The closure of thelondonpaper
News International's decision to close thelondonpaper came as a surprise to many even though the title had never made a profit. The publisher's decision is understandable but it's still sad to see the title go, not just for those who may lose their jobs but also because it innovated in the formats it was willing to offer for advertisers. Media agencies are now hoping that Associated Newspapers doesn't close London Lite, as its audience of young-ish evening commuters could still prove attractive when the downturn ends.