Media: Things we like

ESPN's latest football deal

We're not sure how well the experiment of showing England's World Cup game online will work, but in the run-up to the next World Cup there's going to be plenty of content on offer from ESPN. The broadcaster has signed a deal with the football body Fifa to show archive footage from all the World Cup finals of the past, which includes 150 matches. Plenty to keep us busy before next June.

The Sun's multiplayer game

In an inventive way of monetising its website, The Sun has launched an online quiz game where users can play against each other and it's using a micropayments system to pay for it. The price of each game is 15p and people can choose to play against their friends for prizes or cash or just watch the quiz, which is hosted by a suitably blonde presenter. The Sun says the quiz, created by Fremantle Media, is the first of its kind. It should certainly add to the News International coffers and help cheer up James Murdoch.

The growth of real ale

We enjoy the odd pint of Bishop's Finger, Cocker Hoop or Badger ale, so we were cheered by this week's news that real ale was the only beer type to enjoy growth in its UK sales in the first half of 2009. While sales of lager fell, real ale sales rose by 1 per cent, boosted, apparently, by an increase in the number of women enjoying a pint of frothy brown ale. Real ale's share of the UK beer market now stands at 13.5 per cent, up from 11 per cent in 2007. A triumph for real ale aficionados in country pubs up and down the country.

The London Evening Standard freesheet move

We've been somewhat confused by the Standard's positioning in recent weeks as its publisher has attempted various price promotions and dropping the cover price for late commuters. So its move to become a freesheet provides some clarity for advertisers and also a potential circulation of 600,000 to get their teeth into. Assuming editorial standards can be maintained, we're looking forward to collecting our free Standard every evening.


Conde Nast magazine closures

News that Conde Nast is to close four of its US titles after a review by McKinsey is not encouraging for the magazine sector. The closures include the acclaimed food glossy Gourmet and while there is certainly no suggestion that the US review of Conde Nast titles will affect the UK, or spread to the publisher's more celebrated titles, it's a sign that the recession continues to bare its teeth. As Tatler celebrates its 300th anniversary, we just hope that the glossy end of the UK market can withstand the downward pressures.


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