Rapture TV was a previously free-to-air satellite television station (although now an exclusively online channel) operated from the United Kingdom, founded in 1997. Focusing mostly on dance music and extreme sports, it is notable for the amount of times it has "failed" financially only to be relaunched.
A notable feature of the station during this time was its "Mouse Cam" , broadcast as a time filler when the station was off-air. This featured some mice in a Habitrail-like setup, with shots changing between cameras. The station also featured one of the first SMS-based request shows during this era. A launch to ITV Digital was planned at this time, but never came to completion.
The channel had never been profitable, and its average audiences were in the region of 100,000. UBM placed the channel on the market in 2001, was unable to find a buyer, and closed on October 31, 2001, with the loss of 46 jobs and debts estimated at £12 million, notably playing "Rapture" by iio as its final track over pictures of the station staff. During this time, it had refocused almost entirely on dance music, and was moved to EPG channel 458 in the music section.
In April 2002 the channels assets were bought by Edinburgh based independent production company Power TV, who had previously produced some shows for the channel. A temporary relaunch occurred - to EPG #232 - in June 2002, and lasted until August of the same year, when problems caused it to close again.
It was again relaunched in May 2003, on EPG channel 265. Recurring financial issues, aggravated by the technical failure of a premium-rate SMS service on the channel which would have brought in funding, and various other problems, left the channel in a precarious state. By April 2004 it was running on an almost autopilot, having moved (again) to EPG channel 205, with a somewhat randomised playlist of a few videos, reruns of old club nights over night, and extreme sports in the day.
In July 2004, the channel ran out of money terminally, a potential purchase by Video Interactive Television fell through and the channel ceased to broadcast and was removed from the Sky EPG. Plans for its relaunch were kept active, however. Its named holding company, Rapture TV (Scotland), which was incorporated in 2002, was wound up in 2005.
The story of Rapture TV has been a defining one for the birth of digital satellite. With the increase in capacity, and lower cost base, a whole host of such channels were launched, with most languishing at unpopular EPG locations, or even outside the EPG. Although the satellite TV became "cheaper" to enter, many operators rushed onto the scene without a viable business plan that would make money. Unlike other such channels, Rapture TV has refused to disappear.
The re-launched Rapture TV shows clubbing and extreme sports, programming that the channel is well known for, as well as new programmes from genres such as comedy and drama. In addition, programmes focusing on computer games and technology, including Cybernet (previously seen on ITV) and G@mers, an in-house production have been added to the lineup. The channel also broadcasts feature films. Dance music content, which made up much of the channels output on previous editions, has been retained, with the addition of Underground, a hardcore dance show presented by Jon Doe of CLSM.
The channel launched a broadband simulcast in March 2006, and claims to be the first UK based entertainment channel to launch such a service.
In September 2006, Rapture lodged a complaint with OFCOM against BSkyB, claiming "BSkyB is charging excessively high fees for the supply of a EPG service on the UK's only DSat platform". This was furthered on 23 February 2007 with Rapture submitting further evidence to OFCOM in regard to what they felt was "Bullying" on the part of BSkyB . The complaint was furthered just under a week before Virgin Media removed BSkyB's Basic channels from their service after an unsuccessful round of negotiations in regard to the worth of the channels. Ofcom rejected this complaint.
On 19 March 2007, BSkyB decided to remove Rapture TV from their EPG based on the fact that Rapture TV had failed to pay for a slot in the EPG. Rapture TV was available on the BSkyB platform on channel 193. It now has to be tuned in manually.
On 25 April 2007, Rapture published a statement that outlined the temporary cut off of the channel, whilst giving details of upgrading the site with more content and on-demand video.
On May 9, 2007 a case brought by Rapture TV to Ofcom concerning the BSkyB EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) went to Appeal at the Competition Commission Appeals Tribunal (CAT). The hearing was heard on 18th and 19th of December 2007.
On June 12, 2007, Rapture relaunched its live stream, which initially broadcast R:Muzik 24/7 but now also broadcasts programmes from the Rapture archive. A week beforehand the stream was trialled unsuccessfully using peercast. This current free stream is a temporary measure, and in the future may be replaced with a high quality paid service. In October 2007, a new feature was added enabling viewers to select music videos to play on the live stream for free via the Rapture website.
On the 31st of March 2008 the Competition Commission Appeals Tribunal released their judgement in which they unanimously dismissed the appeal.
Rapture continued to be very vocally critical of Sky and the various related Murdoch companies on public forums for some time before focusing their efforts elsewhere.
There has been speculation as to what Rapture will do next. Information is sparce on the companies website, but it is hoped by many that they will attempt to relaunch on Freesat (the BBC/ITV joint venture).
Media: It's a Teen Thing. Oldies Not Wanted ; Rapture TV Is Lord Hollick's Seven-Day Satellite and Cable Channel Aimed at the Clubbing Generation. Richard Kilgarriff, Its Director of Programmes, Says the Big Boys Don't Know How to Woo the Young
Feb 08, 2000; REMEMBER THE excellent kids' show Why Don't You?, which began by urging its young viewers (usually in a Belfast accent) to switch...
Media: She's Been a Good Old Yardstick, but Now Barb Must Adapt or Die ; Adam Stanhope, Head of the Youth Channel Rapture TV, Says the Old Viewer Ratings Are Going Down the Tubes
Jul 11, 2000; AS ACRONYMS become the new chat-up lines for media students one of the most enduring of the breed seems to have all but...