MTV closes The Box

MTV is folding The Box Music Network into MTV2 to create a single music network with about 30 million subscribers.

MTV Networks inherited The Box in May 1999 when Liberty Media traded the network and three Internet sites to Viacom for a 10% piece of MTV Interactive, a deal that seemed much sweeter before Wall Street abandoned Web stocks.

The Box is a sort of server-based, pay-per-view, music-video-on-demand service with around 18 million subscribers. MTV2 is a mostly digital offshoot of the mothership that has about 13 million subscribers and recently completed distribution deals with Time Warner Cable, AT&T and Comcast.

The Box brand will be dropped, but the server-based request technology will be retained, said Van Toffler, president of MTV and MTV2. But rather than charge $2 or $3 per video request, as The Box did, MTV2 will use it to localize content, he said.

"The beauty of these boxes is you can create a relatively local mix of music," he said. "You can then have access to that box so you can vote on the videos you want."