Even if no one was watching ITV1, people were closely watching its fortunes, especially when NTL tried to take it over and BSkyB suddenly bought a huge chunk of its shares.
At least the appointment of Michael Grade brought to an end one saga, which began when ITV first merged at the beginning 2004 and shareholders claimed the scalp of Carlton Communications chairman Michael Green.
They then went after ITV chief executive Charles Allen, but it took them somewhat longer to get [rid of] their man.
The irony is that part of the reason ITV's shareholders were pissed off at Charles Allen was because of the ITV Digital debacle (at least it spawned the advertising icon Monkey). ITV's digital channels are now doing rather well, thank you very much, but Allen was off anyway.
Speaking of digital television, Five chose 2006 to make its debut in the digital arena, giving us Five Life and Five US. And Channel 4 got everyone excited when it made Film4 a free-to-air station, roping in Judi Dench and Ewan McGregor to help promote the fact.
Channel 4 also confirmed its place as something of a national treasure when it showed former Labour MP George Galloway dressed up in a leotard doing an impression of a robot. Bring on Celebrity Big Brother 2007.
Digital television had a cheerier time of it in 2006 than the poor old magazine market. With a few exceptions, there was a fair amount of doom and gloom among the glossies as circulations fell. It was probably a sign of the times when Emap began 2006 with the revelation that iconic pop magazine Smash Hits was going to be closed because today's teens just aren't interested in magazines unless they've got a whopping great gift stuck on the front of each issue.
More magazine news with the it's closing, oh no it's not tale of Press Gazette. Having being rescued by Piers Morgan and Matthew Freud, it was then abandoned and ended up in the hands of administrators, before being rescued once again -- although not before editor Ian Reeves had decided he could find a bit more job security by turning freelance.
While the national newspapers battled declining circulations and tried to work out what the hell they should be doing on the internet, London was the battleground for the War of the Freesheets. There's no clear victor at this point between Associated, with London Lite and News International's thelondonpaper -- although there is a clear loser, Associated's London Evening Standard.
Who could forget that 2006 was a World Cup year? Well, quite a few people might like to. What is to be said about the World Cup: there were sponsors, there were ads drawing spurious connections between the sponsors and football, and there was inexplicable consternation among the English public and media when their team crashed out relatively early. Again.
Well, who could forget that 2006 was the year when the internet came of age. Again.
Google bought YouTube in a $1.65bn deal. News Corp had already bought everything else. Everyone said that Google wasn't that smart buying YouTube because it does not make money and because it had rather annoyed a lot of people with its enormous copyright infringements. But everyone also knows that Google probably will soon be making a lot of money out of YouTube and no one will be cross with it any more... as long as they're getting a piece of the pie too.
Digital marketing agencies were pretty busy in 2006 after the IAB predicted that there would be £2bn worth of online marketing budgets for them to play around with. Unsurprisingly there was a 245% rise in pitches run through the AAR -- but where were the digital agency start-ups?
Advertising had a new boy on the block from industry old boy Sir Frank Lowe, who launched The Red Brick Road and hired a PR agency to ask journalists not to call it Red Brick Road, and to remind them that Sir Frank had partners in the form of... oh, some other people.
Back at Sir Frank's former agency, Garry Lace continued to provide the advertising industry with tittle-tattle and scandal after being suspended and leaving Lowe London because he had been seen having lunch with... Sir Frank Lowe. Sir Frank hired a PR agency to inform journalists that the lunch had not been his idea.
UK ad agencies delivered a big "knob you, we're the best ones" to their US counterparts by topping the Gunn Report, which tots up how many creative awards have been awarded to creative agencies at creative awards ceremonies. And that wasn't even using weighting, hurrah!
Much of the UK's success was down to Fallon and a bunch of coloured balls they had flung down a San Francisco street the year before -- it remains to be seen if their follow-up, in which a load of coloured paint is flung around a derelict sink estate, can emulate its success.
After buying up everything in sight over the past few years, 2006 was fairly quiet for the big ad holding companies -- at least after Maurice Levy quashed rumours that Publicis was looking at taking over foundering Interpublic Group late in the year.
The one real point of excitement was when Vincent Bollore, who seems to have shed his "corporate raider" sobriquet to be more respectably known as the chairman of Havas, kept trying to get two seats on the board of Aegis.
His argument is that he owns the most shares in the company and should have a say in how it is run. Aegis disagrees, saying that he's got a conflict of interest, seeing as he runs a direct competitor's business. At the moment Aegis shareholders are agreeing with the management, but Bollore ain't about to give up the fight so this may roll on into 2007.
WPP showed that it was starting to get the hang of this whole integration thing by signing a partnership with Universal Music so that it can use music for soundtracks, and so that Universal can promote its artists' work in advertising -- seeing as being featured in an ad seems to be a fairly good way of shifting, um, downloads, these days.
Other than that, apparently most people were busy generating content for YouTube, earning money on Second Life, making "friends" on MySpace and having anxiety attacks about the future of advertising and the lack of big television shoot budgets to fund jollies to Rio.
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This article was first published on brandrepublic.com