Sky Arts to become a free to air channel

With a view of ‘Art for Everyone’ Sky is to make its cultural channel free-to-air.

“This is fantastic news for our world-leading cultural and creative industries. The coronavirus pandemic has underlined just how important they are to our health and wellbeing. I am delighted that Sky Arts is opening up its vast array of programming to the nations’ living rooms, for us all to enjoy.” – Caroline Dinenage, Culture Minister

Sky Arts, the UK’s only channel dedicated to arts and culture, is to be made free for everyone this September, supercharging its mission to increase access to and drive participation in the arts, at a vital time for the cultural sector.

With a renewed focus on bringing more of the arts to more people, Sky Arts will embark on an ambitious programme of activity to support and champion the arts – putting artists, creatives, and public participation centre stage on a channel that everyone across the UK can watch on Freeview.

The move to become free-to-air will include a bold new slate of original programmes and increased and deepened partnerships with artists and arts organisations, providing them with a platform to create and showcase their work. And to support new talent, the channel will launch a series of bursaries worth £30,000 each, that will see leading figures from the arts support and mentor diverse and emerging new artists.

While the Sky Arts linear channel will be made free for everyone, the extensive Sky Arts On Demand library of arts content, with more than 2000 thousand hours of shows, will remain exclusive to Sky and NOW TV Entertainment Pass customers.

Becoming a free channel means the existing slate of Sky Arts programming will be available for everyone to watch for the first time including 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, Urban Myths and countless documentaries and performances, from Kylie, Ed Sheeran and U2, to Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Cats.

“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.” – Philip Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts

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