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The Box
Final logo, used from 2013 to 2024
CountryUnited Kingdom
Ownership
OwnerChannel Four Television Corporation
Sister channels
History
Launched25 April 1992; 32 years ago (25 April 1992)
Closed30 June 2024; 16 days ago (30 June 2024)

The Box was a television channel in the United Kingdom and Ireland, owned and operated by Channel Four Television Corporation. It primarily broadcasts music videos and music-related programmes.

On 29 January 2024, Channel 4 announced in a press release that The Box was among various sister channels that would be closing some time in 2024.[1]

History

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Launch and Early years

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The Box was brought to the United Kingdom by Vincent Monsey and his partner Liz Laskowski, who discovered the original American music video channel in Miami in 1991, when it was then known as The Jukebox Network.[citation needed] The UK company, Video Jukebox Network International Limited, was formed in 1991 and The Box was launched the following year in April 1992.[citation needed] The Box was initially carried by four operators UA, Telewest in London and Bristol, Nynex in the south of England, and Videotron, which was also based in London, and over the next few years, The Box was rolled out on a regional basis across all of the United Kingdom's cable system and, eventually, onto Sky Digital in 1998.[citation needed] The Box was also broadcast on the Astra Satellite between 2 am and 6 am during the downtime of Granada Plus and Men & Motors.[citation needed] From 1999, all the regional versions of The Box were shut down and replaced with a single UK version.[citation needed]

Ticketmaster Inc. briefly owned 50% of the company (Box Television Ltd) before becoming a public company on the FTSE.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] The US version of the channel was sold to MTVN in 2000, with EMAP retaining ownership.

Channel 4 acquisition

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In July 2007, Channel Four Television Corporation acquired 50% of Box Television,[citation needed] before EMAP's remaining 50% in the company was sold to Bauer Media Group in January 2008.[citation needed] In 2019, Channel 4 took full ownership of the company, now known as The Box Plus Network.[2]

On 2 April 2013, all Box Television channels went free-to-air on satellite, apart from 4Music which went free-to-view.[3] As a result, the channels were removed from the Sky EPG in Ireland.[4] The Box was added to the Freesat EPG on 15 April 2013, alongside three other Box Television channels. The Box and its sister channels (except 4Music) returned to Freesat on 8 December 2021 alongside C4 HD.[5]

Each year on 1 November, the channel temporary rebranded as "BoXmas", playing Christmas hits. It also plays regular hits during post-Christmas days.[citation needed]

On the evening of Saturday 25 September 2021, transmission of channels operated by Channel 4 was impacted by the activation of a fire suppressant system at the premises of Red Bee Media.[6] This resulted in The Box being simulcast on Freeview in the place of 4Music, and the channel being broadcast in the place of 4Music, Kerrang! TV and Magic on satellite and cable.[citation needed]

Closure

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On 29 January 2024, Channel 4 announced it would wind down several of its smaller and declining channels in which no longer deliver revenue and public value, including The Box.[7] The channel’s schedule for June 2024 hinted at a closure date of 30 June, as it features several video blocks referring to the channel in the past tense, including a re-use of the channel's original logo and the slogan, “Music Television YOU Control”, changing from the present-tense to past-tense.

At 23:59 on 30 June 2024, The Box closed, with its final music video being "Goodbye" by the Spice Girls.

Format

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This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "The Box" British and Irish TV channel – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (September 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
The logo used for BoXmas, a Christmas-themed temporary rebrand of The Box.

The Box received 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] In later years, The Box operated from a pre-programmed playlist and did not include video selection jukeboxes.[citation needed]

The channel was well known for its "First Play" feature, where many videos often made 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.[8]

Notably, from late 1991 to 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.[9]

Programming

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From June 1, 2024 until June 30, 2024, The Box's programming reflected on its history as it prepared to close down.[10]

Logo history

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References

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  1. ^ "Channel 4 shares plans to become digital-first public service streamer by 2030 | Channel 4". www.channel4.com. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  2. ^ "Channel 4 acquires full ownership of The Box Plus Network". Channel 4. 8 January 2019. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Bauer's Box channels appear free-to-air on satellite". a516digital. 2 April 2013.
  4. ^ "YouTube video showing the channels removed from the Sky EPG in Ireland". YouTube. 3 April 2013. Archived from the original on 13 December 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Five music channels return to Freesat". Rxtvinfo.com. 8 December 2021. Retrieved 8 December 2021.
  6. ^ Televisual.com, 2021-09-27
  7. ^ "Channel 4 shares plans to become digital-first public service streamer by 2030 | Channel 4". www.channel4.com. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  8. ^ "The Box". Archived from the original on 6 August 2013.
  9. ^ "The Box". Archived from the original on 6 August 2013.
  10. ^ Digitalbox. "The Box - Saturday's TV". TV Guide. Retrieved 28 May 2024.
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