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Sky Arts goes FTA

Available on Freeview channel 11 from Sept. 17th

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JO
Josh
Report from Radio Times has come in over the last few hours:
Quote:
Sky says it is “supercharging its mission to increase access to and drive participation in the arts” by making Sky Arts free to air from September.

But while the arts and culture linear channel will be made free for everyone via Freeview, the Sky Arts On Demand library will remain exclusive to Sky and NOW TV Entertainment Pass customers.

Sky said the transformation will include a bold slate of original programmes and increased and deepened partnerships with artists and arts organisations. It will launch a series of bursaries worth £30,000 each, enabling arts leaders to support and mentor emerging new artists.

https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2020-07-28/sky-arts-free-to-air/
Last edited by Josh on 17 September 2020 5:49pm - 2 times in total
DM
DeMarkay
Brilliant news!
AS
AlexS
Depends on what it is replacing on freeview. Pick and Challenge are going to be of more value to the typical freeview viewer so if it means one of them is going behind a paywall it's probably not the best.
LL
London Lite Founding member
I'd speculate that Challenge is going. Pick has a role as a barker channel for Sky's paid products on Freeview/Freesat and has come in useful as an overflow channel for the recent EPL coverage.

Personally I think the Challenge brand will continue as a VOD service on Sky Box Sets and Now TV where viewers can continue to watch Bullseye and Strike it Lucky to their hearts content. (It may also continue on Freesat)

What I'm hoping as they've done with Sky News on NOW TV is that they'll continue to air the linear channel in HD/FHD as part of the Entertainment pass, while Sky Arts is in glorious 544x576 on Freeview and Freesat.

Sky Arts is also going to attract the more attractive ABC1 audience to a minority Freeview channel in comparison to Challenge, think of it as Sky attracting the more high end viewer outside of Sky News for the first time on the platform.
Last edited by London Lite on 28 July 2020 2:33am
CW
Charlie Wells Moderator
I suppose if Sky wanted to keep Challenge they could in theory buy out another existing Freeview channel. In this scenario CCXTV would be a likely candidate, especially given its channel 23 position. I don't think Merit's broadcast hours are long enough by comparison.
PF
PFML84
Perhaps Merit was set up for this reason in some form of deal between ITV and Sky so that Sky Arts can get on Freeview with a decent EPG number?
ST
Stuart
Perhaps Merit was set up for this reason in some form of deal between ITV and Sky so that Sky Arts can get on Freeview with a decent EPG number?

I was going to suggest the same. 'Merit' seems to have such a bland format that it could be turned into anything. IIRC when you take over a Freeview slot you can only change the format of the channel quite slowly (as Sony did) - you can't just buy it and turn it into something drastically different overnight.

Going from ITV3+1, to Merit, to Sky Arts wouldn't really be an issue.
PF
PFML84
I wonder if it will be FTA on Satellite as well (as it is HD on there) or if it is only going on Freeview. If it does go FTA on satellite, I imagine the HD version will remain encrypted.
GO
gottago
I reckon this will almost certainly be going on channel 11, right next to BBC4 and ITV3 which is the right audience demo, plus when BBC4 eventually becomes an all-archive channel they'll be able to sweep up a lot of those viewers. Also it's a much more expensive channel to run than Pick so it makes sense that they'd push it down the EPG.

I agree that either CCXTV or Merit were probably set up to sell to Sky; Pick will probably take their EPG number. If it's CCXTV then I think Challenge will survive and they'll use this channel's stream (if that's the right term for a Freeview channel!). If it's Merit then Challenge will surely close as they won't have any all-day streams left.

Perhaps Merit was set up for this reason in some form of deal between ITV and Sky so that Sky Arts can get on Freeview with a decent EPG number?

I was going to suggest the same. 'Merit' seems to have such a bland format that it could be turned into anything. IIRC when you take over a Freeview slot you can only change the format of the channel quite slowly (as Sony did) - you can't just buy it and turn it into something drastically different overnight.

Going from ITV3+1, to Merit, to Sky Arts wouldn't really be an issue.

As it's only a 3 hour channel I think Merit would continue to broadcast in its current format until they can just close it. Whoever's going to buy it will only be buying it for the EPG slot rather than the channel itself. It's a bit like when A+E bought TCC from The Community Channel so they could launch Blaze on a better EPG position. TCC still continues airing in the early hours.
GO
gottago
I wonder if it will be FTA on Satellite as well (as it is HD on there) or if it is only going on Freeview. If it does go FTA on satellite, I imagine the HD version will remain encrypted.

Broadcast says it will be available on Freesat.
London Lite and PFML84 gave kudos
JJ
Juicy Joe Founding member
I do hope Challenge doesn't close on Freeview - the only bit of entertainment and nonsense to enjoy after a hard day at work. It would be a sad loss. Yes, it would be great to have a highbrow channel, but we don't always want highbrow channels for a bit of escapism and retro nostalgia. It wouldn't be the same.
MO
Mockah
AlexS posted:
Depends on what it is replacing on freeview. Pick and Challenge are going to be of more value to the typical freeview viewer so if it means one of them is going behind a paywall it's probably not the best.


It will be joining Freeview in Autumn. I think that Sky will close Challenge on Freeview to make space.

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