Men & Motors
Men & Motors was a men's lifestyle television channel in the UK. It was the last remaining station operated by the former Granada Sky Broadcasting joint venture, set up by Granada Television (now part of ITV plc) and satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting in 1996. Although ITV plc is now the sole owner of GSB (since renamed ITV Digital Channels Limited), Sky will receive 49.5 per cent of any proceeds (net of liabilities) if Men & Motors is sold.
|Picture format||576i (16:9 SDTV)|
|Owner||ITV Digital Channels Ltd|
|Launched||1 October 1996|
|Closed||1 April 2010|
|Replaced by||ITV HD|
|Former names||Granada Men & Motors (1996–2001)|
|Availability (at time of closure)|
|Virgin Media||Channel 280|
|Sky Digital||Channel 178|
|Astra 2D||10758V 22000 5/6|
|TVCatchup||Watch live (UK only)[dead link]|
A possible merger with ITV4 had been on the cards, but in September 2007 ITV confirmed that it planned to dispose of Men & Motors. Men & Motors closed on 1 April 2010 to make way for ITV HD on Freesat, Sky Digital and Virgin Media.
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From its launch, Men & Motors was only available with subscription television services. It was part of the original line-up (as a "primary channel") for ITV Digital, a Digital terrestrial television service part-owned by Granada. When ONdigital closed, Men & Motors left DTT and became available only through satellite and cable. On 1 November 2004, ITV took full control of GSB and shut down Plus, which only averaged 0.7% of its audience share before ITV3 replaced this ill-fated channel.
The channel really took off after the appointment of Gary Shoefield as director of programming. He quickly set about changing the presenters and the look and feel and took responsibility for both the acquisitions and the newly produced programmes.
The channel was split into 2 distinctive halves with Motors content before 11 pm and Adult content thereafter.
Names that joined the Motors team included Gary Numan, Vanilla Ice, Ginny Buckley, Richard Hammond, John Inverdale and Princess Tamara. The channel saw huge growth under Shoefield's control and Men and Motors became a household name until November 2004, when ITV acquired GSkyB and rebranded Plus as ITV3.
Many years after the closure of ITV Digital, ITV (the company formed by the merger of Carlton Television and Granada) successfully bid for a slot on digital terrestrial (DTT) multiplex D. It was announced that Men & Motors would be launched on Freeview on 2 May 2005. To coincide with this launch, the channel was re-vamped, and its late night, risqué adult content was replaced by archive drama, comedy and documentaries. The channel also dropped its Videoguard encryption on Sky Digital on 1 July 2005, switching to free-to-air status.
ITV's plans to launch a channel aimed at men (the target audience of Men & Motors) were considered by many to be the end for Men & Motors. It seemed logical that Men & Motors would simply "become" ITV4, with much of the channel's programming simply being shown under the ITV brand. With capacity on the Freeview platform limited, and to avoid being in competition for the same genre of viewers, this seemed the inevitable conclusion.
However, available to a much wider audience, Men & Motors enjoyed a (slightly unexpectedly) sharp increase in viewing figures. ITV were faced with the conundrum of replacing a channel with a well-known brand and enjoying a new popularity with a new, seemingly identical channel. ITV4 instead replaced the ITV News Channel on Freeview (between its broadcasting hours of 18:00 to 06:00), with Men & Motors still available on its own 24-hour slot. The News channel closed soon after, due to major competition from Sky News and BBC News 24 and heavy financial losses. It was replaced fully by ITV4 and the CITV Channel.
After less than a year on Freeview, Men & Motors had now been replaced. At 06:00 BST on 12 April 2006, Men & Motors ceased transmissions on digital terrestrial television. This was to allow ITV to launch the "participation television" channel, ITV Play, which has since been closed down itself. With limited bandwidth on the platform, and a desire to keep the entire ITV "family" (i.e. all channels carrying the ITV brand) on the free platform, Men & Motors was only available on satellite and cable television at the time of its closure.
On 2 April 2010, ITV HD launched on Sky Digital channel 178, replacing Men & Motors. As a result, Men & Motors closed on 1 April at 6 a.m. on both Freesat and Sky Digital. On Virgin Media, Men & Motors was removed from the EPG on 25 March 2010 for "operational reasons" to add an ITV HD launch information screen. Most of the programmes that were shown on Men & Motors moved over to ITV4.
On 11 December 2012, One Media iP announced that they had acquired all of the trademarks and content rights of Men & Motors, including approximately 1,600 hours of programming. One Media are currently re-packaging the content for sale across a variety of digital platforms including the iTunes Store and YouTube. The original Men & Motors footage including full episodes and clips are available to watch on the Official Men & Motors YouTube channel.
- "ITV confirms Men & Motors disposal". James Welsh, Digital Spy. 12 September 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
- "ITV to close Men & Motors". The Airwaves. 22 March 2010. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011.
- "Men & Motors to close on satellite". Digital Spy. 29 March 2010.
- "Acquisition of Men & Motors". One Media iP. 11 December 2012.