Box launch: Magic on the way

LONDON — Not content simply to challenge MTV Europe’s U.K. channel, rival music service the Box is planning to launch a new service called Magic in the spring, a channel to compete with MTV sister service VH1.

The Box, a cable and satellite channel owned by media group Emap, says Magic will target a 25-to-44-year-old demographic, as opposed to the Box’s 12-35 age demo. Magic, like the Box, will be viewer interactive, and will program about 70% new videos. VH1 programs about 60% 1990s material. Of those, around 40% are current.

It’s the mix

Frances Naylor, VH1’s exec producer until year’s end when she steps down after 10 years with the net, described Magic’s emphasis on up-to-date videos as making for “a very repetitive playlist — people like the older clips; they like the mix.”

The Box’s chief exec, Vince Monsey, countered: “We have 500 videos available on the Box and it’s been a success. There’s a lot of music out there and we add 20 to 30 videos a week. Magic will work the same way — we’re not harping on nostalgia.”

Depending on whose analysis is used — that of the Box or MTVE — the Box is either seriously threatening MTVE or has been beaten back into a distinct second after the September launch of MTV in the U.K., as MTVE’s British feed is called.

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