Pop Max (formerly Kix! and then Kix) is a free-to-air children's television channel in the United Kingdom, owned by CSC Media Group. As of June 2014, it broadcasts cartoons, action and adventure series, extreme sports and music videos on Sky and Freesat. Its target audience is 7 to 17-year-old boys.
Kix was the fourth dedicated kids' channel to be launched by CSC: its three sister channels are Pop which was launched on 29 May 2003, and shows cartoons and pop music videos for a mixed audience; Tiny Pop, which was launched on 27 July 2004, and shows cartoons for young children and pre-schoolers; and Pop Girl, launched on 6 August 2007, and also shows cartoons and live action shows but is aimed at a female-led audience. Some programmes which have aired on Kix have been screened on one or more of the sister channels as well.[original research?]
On 7 May 2013, Kix! was renamed to Kix. The labelling on the onscreen programme guide was changed in accordance with this. However, the channel logo continues to include the exclamation mark.
Kix moved over to 16:9 widescreen broadcasting on 8 July 2013;[original research?] Pop, Pop Girl and Tiny Pop had all previously moved over to the wider format. Kix retained a version of its prior onscreen graphics, rather than completely relaunching its presentation alongside the move (as Pop Girl had done).
Kix broadcasts on the Freeview digital terrestrial platform since 7 April 2016, following the earlier addition of sister channels POP and Tiny Pop to the service. Kix transmits on the same local-TV multiplex as POP, so that the channel is only available in areas where POP is available. On 30th August 2017, Kix rebranded its identity and is now called Pop Max; however, none of its programming changed.
On 22 July 2013 Kix received a spin-off channel, Kix Power, which replaced Pop Girl +1 on Sky. The subsidiary channel broadcast only Power Rangers programming. Kix Power was replaced by a Kix +1 service on 1 October 2013, and this timeshift ran through October and November. Kix Power was then reintroduced at the end of November for a second run, to operate in the run-up to Christmas, with Kix +1 resuming at the start of January 2014. Kix Power will return, again replacing Kix +1 (or Kix +), on an ad-hoc basis around major school holiday periods; the channel will open its third run in early April 2014,[original research?] building up to the Easter break, and for the first time will screen content not related to the Power Rangers franchise:[original research?] a daily online vote will determine the show to be played as a block on Kix Power the following day. On 22 April 2014, Kix +1 relaunched, this time as Kix +. On 14 July 2014, Kix + was closed down and replaced with Pop +1, which closed in 2008 and was replaced with the actual Kix channel. On 27 October 2014, Kix was rebranded as Kix Power for the October half-term. On 1 October 2015, Kix +1 relaunched, replacing Pop Girl. On 14 June 2016, Kix +1 was removed from Freesat and was replaced with Pop +1. On 11 December 2016, Kix Power launched on Virgin Media. However, Kix was replaced by POP Max on 30 August 2017.
As with other CSC stations, Kix rarely uses on-screen presenters; most programme links, trailers and promotions are provided in voiceover only. The channel's lead voice artist since its launch has been former Kerrang! Radio and CNX presenter Christian Stevenson, whose voice is heard on into-programme links, end-credit promotions, and most of the channel's trailers. In 2013 former Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere joined Kix to host the presented-in-vision segments filmed at the Power Rangers anniversary shopping centre tour which was run in conjunction with intu Properties and which tied in with the first run of Kix Power; since then, Akinwolere has continued to contribute occasional voiceovers to selected trails and promos on Kix, though Stevenson also continues to be used for other sequences. Kix will also occasionally screen group-wide promos being played across CSC stations, which may feature other voiceover artists drawn from the pool used by the company.
At launch, Kix! stated that in addition to cartoons, it would also broadcast music and extreme sports programming. In addition to full scheduled shows, elements of these formats have also occasionally been used as short filler between scheduled programmes.
In 2009, Kix! launched Kix Flix!, which was a film and DVD review programme. The channel had previously broadcast promotional/review pieces for films under the Kix Flix! banner in a short unbilled slot, similar to the Popcorn slot on Pop, but in 2009, a new, more substantial Kix Flix! launched as a billed 15-minute programme, with profiles of several film/DVD releases in each edition. This programme also aired on the entertainment channel Film24 under the title "Kids Flix!". This programme ceased to broadcast at around the time Film24 collapsed and ceased original programming.
A late-night schedule follows, consisting of a show running back-to-back. It runs for many different times. The block is entitled as Kix Through the Night.
In late 2009, a new programming block within Kix! began. "Teenage Kix!" or simply "Teen Kix!", initially ran from 20:00 until the channel's close at 23:30, although by Easter 2010 the block was extended to begin at 18:00. The block includes action and adventure shows, the majority of which were already part of the Kix! schedule prior to the block being established. The introduction of the Teen block also saw the reintroduction of Kix! Xtreme and, for a time, Kix! Mix as full half-hour shows. The Teen block was subsequently scrapped[when?] in favour of using the general Kix! branding in the evenings.