Five music channels will close as a British broadcaster continues its move away from broadcast to online. The channels were removed from its online service last year and will now cease broadcasting. The popular papers have predictably complained about the closure of the five channels, which they described as iconic and beloved. It seems that they were less loved by the broadcaster and little watched by viewers.

The five services, 4Music, The Box, Kiss, Magic, and Kerrang, all provided by British public service broadcaster Channel 4, will no longer be available on satellite and cable television from the end of June.

The closure had been expected for some time. Channel 4 announced its Fast Forward strategy in January 2024 to accelerate its transformation into what it calls a digital-first public service streamer by 2030.

The Box Plus Network

In a statement, Channel 4 said of its Box channels: “They are no longer of sufficient scale to deliver meaningful return on investment. Our strategy reflects the generational shift in television viewing and involves reducing costs — particularly in linear activities — to allow us to invest in digital priorities and stay competitive in a world of global entertainment conglomerates and social media giants.”

The Box started as a music channel on cable television in 1992. It was acquired by Emap in the late 1990s and launched on satellite, together with Kerrang, Kiss, Magic and The Hits.

Emap sold its broadcasting business to Bauer Media in 2007 and Channel 4 took an equal stake in a joint venture that became The Box Plus Network, launching 4Music to replace The Hits. Channel 4 took full control of the business in 2019. In 2022, 4Music became E4 Extra on terrestrial television.

Although The Box Plus Network achieved a monthly reach of 10.9 million viewers in April 2024, according to Barb data, it attracted only a 0.44% monthly share of viewing, with average daily viewing of just 40 seconds, although some of its loyal viewers may have watched for hours.

There are still several dedicated music channels on television, mostly showing themed music videos, but in the age of YouTube and TikTok, they appeal more to nostalgia than the younger online audience that broadcasters are looking for.