Rock around the box: a home groover's guide

The Radio 1 DJ Jo Whiley assesses the music channels available on satellite TV. In such a crowded market a clear identity is vital - so how do they measure up?
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AMP

AMP

OWNED BY: Sky/Chart Show TV

GENRES: Indy rock

AUDIENCE SHARE: 0.04%

You know what you get when you go to the Amp. It's for young, cool kids who are into their music. It's video-based and I don't think it gets massive figures. It's younger and cooler than the likes of Kerrang! and Q. And more varied than Kerrang! It's the place to go for bands like Razorlight, Good Charlotte and Sum 41, but they don't seem to do that many features. This channel is now being taken over by the Chart Show, so we will have to see what they try to do with it.

BOX

OWNED BY: Emap

GENRES: Across the board

AUDIENCE SHARE: 0.21%

This channel is much more current than rivals like Smash Hits! It's very accessible. You can call in and vote for the video you want. It's a very powerful thing for the viewers, like my 12-year-old daughter, India, to feel they are choosing what they watch and The Box has that down to a fine art. It's much more varied than Smash Hits! and more cutting edge. You can send in text messages which is a major cultural phenomenon. It's similar to MTV and VH1, but for a much younger audience.

MTV BASE

OWNED BY: MTV

GENRES: Urban

AUDIENCE SHARE: 0.24%

If you want to see boys with six-packs and a fair bit of bling, Base is a good place to go. Trevor Nelson is pretty much identifiable with this channel and he knows what he's talking about. When you are looking for the latest Outkast video or the newest release from rappers like Terror Squad or Talib Kweli, you will find it here. Base is not as raw as Channel U. But it's a station that is informative as well as entertaining and I believe what it is telling me about the acts that are on the way up.

CLASSIC FM

OWNED BY: GWR

GENRES: Classical

AUDIENCE SHARE: 0.04%

A station I had never, ever been to until last week. When I turned it on, there was a choir and an orchestra doing a version of U2's "With or Without You" - all shot very artily in black and white, and really quite intriguing. But after that it became more traditional classical music and it lost me. My lasting image is of girls with instruments between their legs, playing their music as waves crash onto rocks behind them. It seems to be the more commercial end of classical music.

FLAUNT

OWNED BY: Sky/Chart Show TV

GENRES: Pop and R&B

AUDIENCE SHARE: 0.06%

Flaunt is really girly. It's just like picking up a magazine like Sugar or Mizz - it's all about celebrities and pop stars. I think it's really good and it's definitely one channel that my daughter India identifies with because it's quite cool music-wise, with videos from the likes of Usher and Justin Timberlake, combined with style programmes. However, the problem is, they have such a limited audience and they're not getting the numbers, which is a constant problem for those making specialist programmes.

KERRANG!

OWNED BY: Emap

GENRES: Heavy rock

AUDIENCE SHARE: 0.16%

This is definitely one of my regulars. It's where rock bands want their videos to be played because it's the perfect way to reach their fanbase. They also show classic videos - I was watching one of The Strokes' the other night. They are not so much into programmes; it's all about selling the music and bringing the viewers the bands they want to see. They know who their audience are - the same people that go to the Download festival, and to Reading and like to indulge a little air guitar.

SMASH HITS

OWNED BY: Emap

GENRES: Pop

AUDIENCE SHARE: 0.23%

Part of a brand that includes a radio station and the long-standing magazine. It's pretty much out and out cheesy pop and not somewhere I would normally go to. This channel offers back-to-back videos of the likes of Hearsay and Ronan Keating last time I saw it. It's not my thing - although, if you are a pop kid, it will be your kind of station. India, watches it occasionally. She channel hops and shows no loyalty to the channels. I think she is representative of her age.

MTV

OWNED BY: MTV

GENRES: Hits from all genres

AUDIENCE SHARE: 0.41%

It's the highest rated by far and doesn't really compete with the other channels because it is so creative with its programming. MTV has successful shows likeJackass and Cribs, where music celebrities show you into their house. Snoop Dogg had his own "Dogg Pound" with dogs and his own basketball court.I'm quite addicted to it - it's like Hello! for a younger generation. MTV is the first channel I go to.E4 is probably its biggest competitor because it gets such high ratings.

VH1

OWNED BY: MTV

GENRES: Rock and pop for 24-44yr-olds

AUDIENCE SHARE: 0.22%

VH1 is aimed at an older audience in their 30s and 40s. I watch it for a show called Bands Reunited where they take bands like Haircut 100 or Squeeze and bring them back together. Inevitably there's been some fantastic fall-outs and you are waiting for the band members to say: 'I won't meet him, I hate his guts and want to stab him'. But somehow they seem to get them back together to do a one-off gig. It can be quite emotional and it's a compelling TV show.

Q

OWNED BY: Emap

GENRES: Rock

AUDIENCE SHARE: 0.09%

The channel is designed for people who read the magazine Q. The viewers are entitled to expect the same sort of thing they get in the mag, but I don't think it delivers that. It's quite difficult to translate the maazine on to the screen. It's really male-based and the videos are just not as cool as you would expect them to be. The mag is for discerning music lovers, but the channel can't provide the same quality of interviews. The big appeal is when they have specials on bands like REM or U2.

SCUZZ

OWNED BY: Sky/Chart Show TV

GENRES: Hardcore rock

AUDIENCE SHARE: 0.07%

This is the home of obscure, alternative rock. It's for the kids who like to lock themselves in their room with their music turned up high. I imagine it is a bit impenetrable to people on the outside, especially the parents, but it's exactly what those kids want. Scuzz is for the younger brothers of the kids that listen to Amp. It is for those who want hardcore indy music rather than Keane or Travis. I think it has really delivered on what it set out to do.

CHANNEL U

OWNED BY: Video Interactive Television

GENRES: Urban (Hip hop, Garage etc)

AUDIENCE SHARE: 0.07%

I respect what this channel does because it's very raw and very underground. It's a really good place for the music industry to promote an artist and get a buzz around them. This channel has grown by word of mouth. It represents the word on the street. People say it is like a pirate radio station on television. They profile a lot of British artists and for urban music in general, this channel is the real cutting edge.

Audience share figures are % of total viewing in Sky Digital homes. Source: BARB

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