By Jonathan Easton
Sky has confirmed that Sky Arts will launch on free-to-air TV in the UK on September 17.
Launching on Freeview channel 11, Sky Arts will continue to broadcast a wide range of programming which focuses on theatre, art, poetry and music. The Sky Pick channel which previous occupied channel 11 will now move to channel 34.
While Sky Arts will be added to Freeview, its on-demand content will not be following suit to the Freeview Play OTT platform. Instead, the Sky Arts on demand library of more than 2,000 hours of content will remain exclusive to Sky and Now TV.
The news shores up the details of an announcement previously made by Sky last month when it first said that Sky Arts would go FTA.
At the time, Director of Sky Arts, Philip Edgar-Jones said: “There’s never been a stronger need or demand for the arts, nor a more important time to champion and celebrate creativity. That’s why we’re throwing open the doors to make Sky Arts a free channel. During lockdown we’ve seen audiences to the channel increase by 50 per cent and our weekly live paint-along show, Portrait Artist of The Week, reached 4.6 million people with over 20,000 portraits painted.
“As a free to air channel I hope that Sky Arts can help arts organisations and cultural institutions of all shapes and sizes across the UK, providing them with a platform to create and showcase their work to a broad audience. With our renewed focus and mission to increase accessibility and participation across the arts, we want to hear from everyone with ideas for how we might be able to work together – we can only succeed with artists and creatives at the heart of what we do.” https://www.digitaltveurope.com