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Sky Arts (originally launched as Artsworld) is a British free-to-air television channel offering 24 hours a day of programmes dedicated to highbrow arts, including theatrical performances, movies, documentaries and music (such as opera performances and classical and jazz sessions). The channel is available in the United Kingdom via Freeview, Freesat, BT TV, Plusnet, Sky, Virgin Media, and TalkTalk TV and in the Republic of Ireland via Sky Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland, Vodafone Ireland and eir, included in most basic subscription packs, but started life as a premium service requiring an additional payment on top of the monthly Sky subscription. The channel launched on Freeview and Freesat as a free-to-air service in September 2020.
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
|Owner||Sky Group (Comcast)|
Crime & Investigation
Sky History 2
Sky Sports Box Office
Sky Sports F1
Sky Sports News
Sky Sports Racing
|Launched||1 January 2000|
|Former names||Artsworld (2000–07)|
|Freeview||Channel 11 (SD)|
|Virgin Media (UK)||Channel 140 (HD)|
|Virgin Media (Ireland)||Channel 141|
Channel 145 (HD)
|Freesat||Channel 147 (SD)|
|Sky||Channel 130 (SD/HD)|
Channel 826 (SD)
|BT TV (via Now TV)||Channel 364 (HD)|
|Sky Go||Watch live (UK & Ireland only)|
|Now TV||Watch live (UK and Ireland only)|
|Virgin TV Anywhere||Watch live (UK only)|
In its early days, it was owned and managed by a public partnership (Artsworld Channels) including Sir Jeremy Isaacs. However, the channel suffered severe financial difficulty. In July 2002, it even staged its own farewell party, only to find emergency funding that very evening. In 2003, with a skeleton staff, it was facing closure. At this point, Sky stepped in, taking an initial 50% stake.
Sky subsequently bought out the remaining shareholders (including Isaacs) and in June 2005 took full control, reducing the staff further, and dropping the channel's premium subscription fee shortly afterwards. 60 hours of classic music along with seven full-length operas were broadcast each month to help bring in potential new subscribers. John Cassy, the channel manager of Artsworld, said: "It is great news for the arts that a dedicated cultural channel will be available to millions of households."
Sky Arts (2007–present)Edit
On 1 March 2007, Artsworld became Sky Arts and Artsworld HD became Sky Arts HD. This resulted in all of BSkyB's wholly owned channels carrying the Sky name (until Pick TV was launched and Virgin Media Television - which included Challenge - was acquired).
From 8 June 2007, Sky Arts introduced a series called Friday Night Hijack. Artists were invited to schedule a night of television that reflects their tastes, interests and passions. Guests included legendary punk DJ Don Letts, Don McCullin, Saffron Burrows, Anthony Horowitz, Malcolm McLaren, Phill Jupitus, Germaine Greer, George Melly and Reggie Perrin writer David Nobbs.
Picks included a Franz Ferdinand documentary entitled Rock it to Rio, a concert performance by Damon Albarn's new band The Good, the Bad & the Queen as well as documentaries and films on Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol, Rachel Whiteread and Elvis Costello. This weekly feature was later moved and renamed Sunday Night Hijack. Between 2007 and 2012, Sky Arts collaborated with Seventh Art Productions to create Tim Marlow on.. and Marlow Meets... - two series in which broadcaster and arts historian Tim Marlow explored famous artists, major art exhibitions and key cultural figures. Queen concerts and documentaries also air frequently on Sky Arts 1.
In 2013, Sky Arts launched a painting competition series Portrait Artist of the Year presented by Frank Skinner and Joan Bakewell. The series is judged by art experts Tai-Shan Schierenberg, Kathleen Soriano and Kate Bryan. Nick Lord won the first series and was awarded a commission to paint Hilary Mantel for the British Library. In 2014 the second series was won by Christian Hook and his portrait of Alan Cumming is now part of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery collection. In 2015 Sky Arts introduced a development of the competition for landscape painters called Landscape Artist of the Year in association with National Trust. The first series was won by Nerine McIntyre and she was awarded a commission to paint the scene made famous by John Constable at Flatford.
On 9 June 2015, Sky Arts 2 closed and merged its content with Sky Arts 1 to form one channel.
The free-to-air eraEdit
Since becoming a free-to-air service, the channel has picked up a number of acclaimed music documentaries such as King Rocker - A Film About Robert Lloyd and the Nightingales,  Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché and Blitzed: The 80s Blitz Kids' Story, many of which were broadcast on Sky Arts a short while after premiering to the press.
Sky Arts (formerly known as Artsworld and Sky Arts 1) focused on the more modern and independent side of Sky Arts' programming. Schedules included cutting-edge documentaries, cult films, and rock concerts. but since 9 June 2015 it has also featured the high brow programmes from the former Sky Arts 2.
Sky Arts 2Edit
Sky Arts +1 began broadcasting on 18 August 2008, filling the Performance Channel's EPG slot (purchased by Sky) until the full launch of Sky Arts 2 on 20 October 2008. This channel focused on high brow programme and featured classical music, opera, dance, fine arts programming and reruns of Tales of the Unexpected.
On 9 June 2015, at 06:00 UTC+1 (05:00 UTC), Sky Arts 2 closed after showing its final classical music programme followed by promos for the new merged channel.
Sky Arts HDEdit
Artsworld HD was one of the launch channels on Sky HD in 2006. It was a high-definition simulcast of Artsworld, and later Sky Arts, showing HD programmes when available, and upscaling standard-definition programmes.
Following the launch of Sky Arts 2, Sky Arts HD showed a mix of programmes in high definition from both channels – generally Sky Arts 1 all day on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays and Sky Arts 2 until 7 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, switching to Sky Arts 1 from 7 pm onwards on those days.
On 2 March 2009, Sky Arts HD was split into two channels. Sky Arts 1 HD then broadcast from 7 pm to 2 am daily, and Sky Arts 2 HD from 8 am to 7 pm. The standard definition channels continued to broadcast a full schedule from 8 am to 2 am. Sky Arts 1 HD also broadcast a further hour of HD-only programming called 'Aquariavision' intended to be recorded by Sky+ HD owners.
As of June 2009, both Sky Arts 1 and 2 HD broadcast full-time between 6 am and 2 am.
From 1 March 2010, all Sky Arts channels are broadcasting 24 hours a day.
An on and off-air brand refresh for all four channels (Sky Arts 1, Sky Arts 1 HD (a simulcast), Sky Arts 2 and Sky Arts 2 HD (a simulcast)) was launched on 16 August 2010.
On 9 June 2015, at 6 am, Sky Arts 2 HD closed down.
As of September 2020, Sky Arts is currently made up of the following channels: Sky Arts and Sky Arts HD (a simulcast).
Sky Arts IrelandEdit
Sky Arts launched an Irish feed on 8 April 2021. The channel is registered with the broadcasting regulator in Luxembourg however, the Luxembourg regulator will make use of the classification system set by Ireland's BAI Code of Program Standards. The channel is currently only available in standard definition.
|Picture format||4:3 (576i SDTV)|
|Owner||British Sky Broadcasting|
|Launched||2 December 1990|
|Closed||31 December 1992|
|Availability (at time of closure)|
Originally, Sky Arts was planned as a full channel on the Astra 1A satellite at the beginning of the Sky Television service back in 1989. Promotional material broadcast during the launch indicated the channel would appear later that year along with Disney Channel. Neither channel launched at the time, Disney due to disputes with Sky, whilst arts programming (such as an early broadcast of the opera 'Carmen') was instead broadcast on Sky One.
Following the merger of British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) and Sky Television plc to form British Sky Broadcasting in 1990, BSkyB replaced the BSB lifestyle channel Now with Sky Television's news channel Sky News. However, contracts were still in place for some shows intended for the Now channel to be shown by BSkyB. BSkyB solved this by occasionally opting out of the regular Sky News service during weekends on the Marcopolo satellite (which was owned by BSB prior to the merger and which carried Now) and showing the programmes as part of a weekend service entitled 'Sky Arts'. The service was only seen by former BSB viewers, since Sky Arts did not interrupt Sky News on the existing Astra satellite service.
After all outstanding programmes had been broadcast, the full Sky News service was broadcast on both Marcopolo and Astra and Sky Arts ceased to broadcast.
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And still to come in 1989 Sky Arts plus the ultimate in family entertainment introducing The Disney Channel
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