Philip Reevell on how coverage of the Rugby World Cup will benefit ITV 2, ITV 3 and ITV 4.
Philip Reevell on how coverage of the Rugby World Cup will benefit ITV's 2,3 and 4

ITV took the opportunity provided by the Rugby World Cupto show how to schedule programmes successfully across a portfolio of digital channels. ITV2, 3 and 4 all secured a place in the top 15 rating multichannel programmes. In terms of digital homes share, ITV2's share was up to 2.2% from 2.12%, ITV3 up to 1.3% from 1.23%, and ITV4 up to 1% from 0.9%. Each channel has a distinct proposition and a clear rationale for the shows it screened.

The World Cup rights made all the difference to ITV4. Its Sunday match at 6.45pm was the week's highest rating show, attracting 670,000/4% share and scoring a top 15 place in the multichannel table. To put that in context, Saturday lunchtime's match on ITV1 had an audience of 1.3 million/18% share. Away from rugby, ITV4 benefited from Italian Grand Prix Qualifying on Saturday at 12.30pm with 492,000/7% share.

In contrast, ITV3 was sport-free, thanks to dramas such as Doc Martin on Thursday at 9pm with 570,000/3% share, which also won a place in the top multichannel programmes table, and Agatha Christie's Poirot, with an audience of 418,000/2% share on Wednesday at 8pm.

ITV's real digital powerhouse remains ITV2, which attracted 810,000/5% share for Sunday's 7pm The X Factor. It did decent business with its 9pm movies on Monday and Thursday - Beverley Hills Cop II on Monday had 510,000/3.2% share and 2 Fast 2 Furious on Thursday had 400,000/2.5% share.

However the multichannel programme of the week remains Heroes on BBC3 on Wednesday at 10pm with 970,000/7% share - but the channel also boosted its weekly share to 1.2% from 1.17% with the help of factual shows such as My Penis and Everyone Else's on Monday at 9pm with 470,000/2.6%, Dog Borstal on Tuesday at 8pm with 440,000/2.6% and Under 18 and Under the Knifeon Thursday at 10.30pm with 430,000/4% share.