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Sky Arts
Launched 1 January 2000
Owned by British Sky Broadcasting
Audience share 0.1% (1)
~0.0% (2) (November 2012, BARB)
Slogan Be Inspired
Formerly called Artsworld (2000–2007)
Sister channel(s) Challenge,
Sky Atlantic,
Sky Living,
Sky Livingit,
Sky Movies,
Sky Movies Box Office,
Sky News,
Sky Sports,
Sky Sports F1,
Sky Sports News
Website Sky Channel 129 (1 SD/1 HD)
Channel 130 (2 SD/2 HD)
Channel 222 (1 SD)
Channel 223 (2 SD)
On Demand
Virgin Media Channel 281 (1)
Channel 282 (1 HD)
Channel 283 (2)
Channel 284 (2 HD)
Sky Anytime
Smallworld Cable Channel 202 (1/1 HD)
Channel 203 (2/2 HD)
UPC Ireland Channel 141 (1)
Channel 142 (2)
Channel 145 (1 HD)
Channel 146 (2 HD)
TalkTalk Plus TV Channel 405 (1)
Channel 406 (2)
Streaming media
Sky Go Watch live (UK & Ireland only)
Virgin TV Anywhere Now TV Watch live (1) (UK only)

Sky Arts and Sky Arts HD (formerly known as Artsworld) is the brand name for a group of art-oriented television channels offering 18 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 channels are available via Sky, Virgin Media, Smallworld Cable and TalkTalk Plus 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 and Smallworld Cable.


In its early days, it was owned and managed by a private 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. 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

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.


Sky Arts 1

Sky Arts 1 (formerly known as Artsworld and Sky Arts), rebranded itself as Sky Arts 1, focusing on the more modern and independent side of Sky Arts' programming. Schedules include cutting-edge documentaries, cult films, and rock concerts.

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 features classical music, opera, dance and fine arts programming.

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.[2]

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.

Sky Arts is currently made up of the following channels: Sky Arts 1, Sky Arts 1 HD (a simulcast), Sky Arts 2, Sky Arts 2 HD (a simulcast), and an on and off-air brand refresh for the channels launched on 16 August 2010.

Former logos

Previous life

Sky Arts
The 1990s Sky Arts logo
Launched 2 December 1990
Closed 31 December 1992[3]
Owned by British Sky Broadcasting
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.[4] 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'.[5][6] 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.


External links

  • Sky Arts
  • Artsworld to drop subscription charge Digital Spy, 20 June 2005 – Report on Sky's takeover of the channel
  • Sky Arts TV Ark – Examples of Sky Arts presentation from 1990 and 2007

Template:Media in the United Kingdom

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