Sky Box Office launched on 16 March 1996 on Sky Analogue. At the time
it carried mainly sporting events, such as major boxing fights. The
first of these was Frank Bruno's WBC World Heavyweight Championship
defence against Mike Tyson. Initially events were ordered by telephone,
either on the day of broadcast for £14.95 or in advance at a reduced
price of £9.99. Ordering an event charged the viewer and then the
subscriber's VideoCrypt viewing card would be activated over the air,
enabling the viewing of the broadcast. The charge would be levied unless
the viewer cancelled prior to broadcast, or returned the viewing card
as proof that the event hadn't been watched.
Four dedicated Sky Box Office channels were launched on 1 December
1997 on Sky Analogue. At this time multiple showings of selected movies,
shown in advance of their broadcast on Sky's existing subscription
movie channels, were added. Initial movies included The Long Kiss
Goodnight and Courage Under Fire. However, at least one hour
pre-ordering was required, and for most movies one purchase at £2.99
only bought one viewing.
With the move to Sky Digital in 1998, where the Sky Digibox
provided a data return path, events and movies - the latter now copy
protected - could be bought minutes before or even during the event
either by telephone or through an on-screen menu and PIN system.
A range of pay-per-view 3-D films are also screened on Sky 3D.
On 1 February 2011, Sky Box Office was rebranded as Sky Movies Box
Office for Movies. Later in the year, Sky Sports Box Office branding
was added for sports and Sky 3D Box Office for 3D.