The Box (British TV channel)
The Box is a British music television channel owned by The Box Plus Network, a music division of Channel Four Television Corporation. Originally based on the US broadcast network of the same name, The Box primarily broadcasts music videos and features other music-related programming from across The Box Plus Network.
|Picture format||576i 16:9 SDTV|
|Owner||The Box Plus Network|
(Channel Four Television Corporation)
|Launched||25 April 1992|
|Virgin Media (UK)||Channel 335|
|Virgin Media (Ireland)||Channel 662 (TV 360)|
Channel 710 (Horizon and older boxes)
|Sky (UK only)||Channel 355|
|Astra 2G||11264 H 27500 2/3|
|The Box Plus Network||Watch live|
|Virgin TV Anywhere||Watch live (UK only)|
Watch live (Ireland only)
The Box was brought to the United Kingdom by Vincent Monsey (in Radio Caroline fame) and his partner Liz Laskowski, who discovered the American music video channel in Miami in 1991, when it was then known as The Jukebox Network. The UK company, Video Jukebox Network International Limited, was formed in 1991 and The Box was launched the following year in April 1992 during the earlier days of cable television. The Box was carried by four operators UA, Telewest in London and Bristol, Nynex in the south of England, and Videotron, which is also based in London.
Over the next few years, The Box was rolled out on a regional basis across all of the United Kingdom's cable system available and, eventually, onto Sky Digital in 1998. The Box was also broadcast on the Astra Satellite between 2 am and 6 am during the downtime of Granada Plus and Men & Motors. From 1999, all the regional versions of The Box were shut down and replaced with a single UK version.
Ticketmaster Inc. briefly owned 50% of the company (Box Television Ltd) before becoming a public company on the FTSE. EMAP took ownership of these shares in 1997, and purchased the shareholding held by the US company VJN Inc, which had then become TCI Music and then Liberty Digital. The US version of the channel was sold to MTVN in 2000. EMAP retained ownership, receiving profits made from music video selections, which are made by the viewers using premium rate phone lines, as well as the small fees from BSkyB for being an encrypted channel. Each week, a new playlist would be released and would generally contain new or current music videos. In its earlier years, the playlist was published on teletext and the channel's website. Today, the playlist is now programmed in the 'Up Next' section on-screen. In 2007, Channel Four Television Corporation acquired 50% of Box Television and in 2019 took full ownership of the company, now known as The Box Plus Network.
On 2 April 2013, all Box Television channels went free-to-air on satellite, apart from 4Music which went free-to-view. As a result, the channels were removed from the Sky EPG in Ireland. The Box was added to the Freesat EPG on 15 April 2013, alongside three other Box Television channels, and themselves.
The channel is well known for its "First Play" feature, where many videos often make their UK or world premiere. This new music is often shown through the "Box Fresh" show. Most notably, The Box were recognized for the particular force behind the huge success of Spice Girls' 1996 hit "Wannabe", playing their first single months before its official release date. Before Emap took ownership within Box Television, the channel was recognized for the wide variety of music from all genres, up to 500 videos per week.
The Box lives for "Fresh Music,First". Past mottos include "Big,Hits First", "Music,Television You Control", and "Smash,Hits You Control".
Notably, for a brief period in late 1999 and early 2000, there was a trend of artists name checking The Box in their music videos, though the practice wasn't widespread. In most cases, this was simply an insertion of the logo at some point in the regular video, however in a few cases, the channel was actually name checked by the artists themselves. The most notable example of this is the video for the S Club 7 song "S Club Party", which also had an extended opening and closing never seen on other music channels.
As with all Box Television channels, The Box now operates from a pre-programmed playlist and does not include video selection jukeboxes. In July 2007, 50% of Box Television was sold to Channel Four Television Corporation, before EMAP's remaining 50% in the company was sold to Bauer Media Group in January 2008.
On 28 October 2013, The Box's logo, branding, onscreen and online design was refreshed. In addition, the channel and its sister networks can now be streamed on the Box Plus App and at the channel's website.
On 1 November 2020, the channel was temporary rebranded as "BoXmas", which was formerly used for Box Upfront before it closed. It also plays regular hits during post-Christmas days.
- Chart Hits & New Vids - Current hits and music videos.
- Hotmix - Tracks from the last few years. The songs are usually cut down and are edited to flow smoothly into the next track.
- UK Hotlist Top 20 & Top 40 - The 20 and 40 most streamed tracks on Spotify in the last week, counted down by Will Best.
- The UK Music Video Chart - Data supplied by YouTube, the UKMVC supplies you with the top 30 most watched music videos of the week.
- Hitlist - Current hits.
- VOTW - Check out The Box Plus Network's Video of the Week!
- The Fresh List - New and recurrent videos from new and established artists
- "Channel 4 acquires full ownership of The Box Plus Network". Channel 4. 8 January 2019. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
- "Bauer's Box channels appear free-to-air on satellite". a516digital. 2 April 2013.
- "YouTube video showing the channels removed from the Sky EPG in Ireland". 3 April 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2020.