Comcast-owned pay-TV operator Sky will make its Arts channel free-to-air in the UK, the operator has announced.
Starting from September, Sky Arts will launch on free-to-air terrestrial platform Freeview. Comcast-owned Sky said that this reflects “its mission to increase access to and drive participation in the arts, at a vital time for the cultural sector.”
The channel broadcasts a wide range of programming which focuses on theatre, art, poetry and music. This includes popular series such as Portrait Artist Of The Year, Landscape Artist Of The Year, Tate Britain’s Great Art Walks, Treasures Of The British Library, The South Bank Show and Urban Myths.
The broadcaster added that 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.
Stephen van Rooyen, EVP and CEO, Sky UK and Europe, said: “As a creative business, we believe it’s important to have a thriving cultural sector. By making Sky Arts free for everyone we want to give more artists and arts organisations a platform to create and share their work and to bring more art and culture to everyone across the UK.”
Complementing this announcement comes the launch of a series of bursaries which Sky says are worth £30,000 ($38,000) each. These will see “leading figures from the arts support and mentor diverse and emerging new artists.”