The Box Plus Network|
(Bauer Media Group/Channel Four Television Corporation)
|Picture format||576i (16:9 SDTV)|
|Audience share||0.03% (March 2017BARB),|
|Sky (UK only)||Channel 359|
|Astra 2F||12304 H 27500 5/6|
|Virgin Media (UK)||Channel 335|
|Virgin Media Ireland||Channel 710|
|The Box Plus Network||Watch live|
|Virgin TV Anywhere||
Watch live (UK only)|
Watch live (Ireland only)
The Box is a television channel in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is the namesake of The Box Plus Network, a joint venture between Channel Four Television Corporation and Bauer Media Group. Originally based on the U.S broadcast network of the same name, The Box primarily broadcasts music videos and features other music-related programming from across The Box Plus Network.
The Box was brought to the United Kingdom by Vincent Monsey (of Radio Caroline fame) and his partner Liz Laskowski, who discovered the U.S 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 early days of cable television. The Box was carried by four operators United Artists, 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 rolled out on a regional basis across the United Kingdom on every cable system available and, eventually, onto Sky Digital in 1998. The Box was also broadcast on the Astra Satellite between 2am and 7am during the downtime of Granada Plus and Men & Motors. From 1999, all the regional versions of The Box were shut down and replaced with the 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 American 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 early 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.
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.
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 the first Spice Girls 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, offering up to 500 videos per week as well as for helping to introduce rap and hip hop music onto the UK music scene.
The slogan of The Box is "Fresh Music First". Previous 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 not 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 siblings can now be streamed on the Box Plus App and at the channel's website.