VOX started transmitting on January 25, 1993. It competed with public television by broadcasting many live and informational programs. The channel was originally owned by an assortment of German media companies:
* UFA (Bertelsmann AG) – 24,9%
* Westdeutsche Medienbeteiligungsgesellschaft (West German Media Holding Company) – 25,1%
* Holtzbrinck-Verlag (Holtzbrinck Publishing House) – 14,5%
* Warner Music Germany – 14,5%
* Development Company for Television Program (DCTP) – 11%
* Mittelständische Unternehmensbeteiligung (Middle Class Business Holdings) – 10%
The director of programming at launch was Ruprecht Eser. One year after the channel's launch it seemed clear that the original program concept would not work. Market share among the target group relevant for advertisers was at 1.5%, too low to attract much advertising. VOX took significant losses. By February 1994, all the original partners except UFA and DCTP sold their stakes. As a result of the loses, the quality of programs began to decline. VOX had to repeat its movies every few weeks to fill the schedule. On April 1st, 1994, VOX went into liquidation. More than 250 employees were laid off.
By November 1994, VOX had new owners:
* News German Television Holding (News Corporation) 49,9%
* Canal + 24,9%
* UFA (Bertelsmann AG) 24,9%
* DCTP 0,3%.
Gradually, VOX gained a foothold in the German television landscape. In 1998, VOX signed an output deal with 20th Century Fox, leading to more series and movies being broadcast alongside magazine-style shows. In December 1999, RTL Television bought out News Corporation. A short time later, canal+ sold its share to UFA (Bertelsmann AG). 99.7% of the channel now belonged to RTL Group, with the remaining 0,3% held by DCTP.
Now, VOX is the most successful private television station of the so-called "second generation". The channel had so much success with series such as CSI and CSI: Miami that they were transferred to the more widely-watched sister channel RTL Television. CSI: NY gets a market share of up to 21% on VOX. Audience share in March 2008 was 5.4%, with share amongst 14-49 year-olds at 7.4%.
It has recently achieved success with game shows, notably cooking competitions such as Unter Volldampf!, for which Andreas Stenschke directed 115 episodes.