Sky Arts

Sky Arts
Launched 1 January 2000
Owned by Sky plc
Picture format 16:9 (576i SDTV)
16:9 (1080i HDTV)
Audience share 0.10% (September 2015 (2015-09), BARB)
Slogan Be Inspired
Formerly called Artsworld (2000–2007)
Sister channel(s) Challenge,
Real Lives,
Sky 1,
Sky 2,
Sky Atlantic,
Sky Cinema,
Sky Cinema Box Office,
Sky Living,
Sky News,
Sky Sports,
Sky Sports F1,
Sky Sports News HQ
Sky Channel 121 (SD/HD)
Channel 223 (SD)
On Demand
Virgin Media
Channel 122
Channel 206 (HD)
Sky Anytime
Virgin Media Ireland Channel 141
Channel 145 (HD)
TalkTalk TV Channel 305
Streaming media
Sky Go Watch live (UK & Ireland only)
Virgin TV Anywhere Watch live (UK only)
Now TV Watch live (UK only)

Sky Arts (originally launched as Artsworld) is an art-oriented 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 via Sky, Virgin Media, and TalkTalk TV, included in most basic subscription packs, but started life as a premium service requiring an additional payment on top of the monthly Sky subscription. Sky Arts HD is also available on Sky, Virgin Media.


Artsworld (2000–07)

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.[1]

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.[2] 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."[1]

Sky Arts (2007–present)

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 as Sunday Night Hijack. 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.[3] [4] 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. [5] In 2015 Sky Arts introduced a development of the competition for landscape painters called Landscape Artist of the Year in association with National Trust. [6] 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.[7]


Sky Arts

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. At the same time it has also removed the "1" from its name as there is no longer a second channel

Sky Arts 2

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.

From 30 March to 14 April 2013, Sky Arts 2 was temporarily rebranded as Sky Arts Rieu in honour of André Rieu, broadcasting back-to-back concerts by the violinist.[8]

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 HD

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 7pm-2am 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 – 2am. 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 6am-2am.

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 06:00 UTC+1 (05:00 UTC), Sky Arts 2 HD closed down.

Sky Arts is currently made up of the following channels: Sky Arts and Sky Arts HD (a simulcast).

Former logos

Previous life

Sky Arts

The 1990s Sky Arts logo
Launched 2 December 1990
Closed 31 December 1992[9]
Owned by British Sky Broadcasting
Picture format 4:3 (576i SDTV)
Analogue Marcopolo, 11.785

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.[10] 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,[11] BSkyB replaced the BSB lifestyle channel Now with Sky Television's news channel Sky News.[12] 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'.[13][14] 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. The Sky Arts name returned in 2007, after a 15-year break in transmission – one of the longest such breaks in British television history.


  1. 1 2 Gibson, Owen (2005-06-20). "Sky buys out arts channel". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
  2. Shelley, Darren (2005-06-20). "Artsworld to drop subscription charge". Digital Spy.
  3. "Hilary Mantel's new portrait sets precedent - BBC News". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
  4. "Hilary Mantel portrait a living first for the British Library". Retrieved 2016-03-15.
  5. Ellis-Petersen, Hannah (2014-12-30). "Alan Cumming portrait unveiled at Scottish gallery". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
  6. "Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year". National Trust. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
  7. Finbow, Katy (29 April 2015). "Sky is closing one of its Arts channels to make a single "super channel"". Digital Spy. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  8. "Sky Arts 2 Celebrates Andre Rieu". Sky Arts. 10 March 2013.
  9. "TV History". UK Free TV. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
  10. Sky TV Launch (1989). And still to come in 1989 Sky Arts plus the ultimate in family entertainment introducing The Disney Channel
  11. Sweney, Mark (2014-11-12). "BSkyB to be rebranded as Sky after takeover of European sister companies". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  12. "James Murdoch To Replace Nicholas Ferguson As Sky Chairman". International Business Times. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  13. Chris Wathan The BSB/Sky Merger Analogue/Sat
  14. About BSkyB – Murdoch on Astra...versus BSB on Marco Polo Irish Cable & Digital Guide

External links

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