Sky relaunches its arts channel today, a move that brings a comprehensive line-up of arts programming to its on-demand platform.
The relaunch will see Sky Arts 1 and 2 combined to created a single channel – Sky Arts (number 121) – and will also herald an ambitious slate of content, from a new “sex season” with Edith Bowman, The BalletBoyz and The Chapman Brothers to new dramas from Stephen Mangan, Idris Elba and Rhys Ifans and comedy from Kim Cattrall, Frank Skinner and Vic Reeves.
A new strand, Hot Tickets, will offer customers front row seats to arts performances, including ballet, theatre and classical concerts, as well as the quest to find the UK and Ireland’s best guitarist in Guitar Star.
“At Sky we believe the arts are for everyone. We know that a lot of our content appeals to genre enthusiasts, and the feedback from our customers tells us that they want to find the stuff they love in one place,” says Philip Edgar-Jones, Director, Sky Arts.
“With that in mind, we have looked at our offering to make sure customers can more easily find the content they are passionate about. With our new on demand service alongside what we think is the strongest line-up of programmes yet, we think the new look Sky Arts will genuinely offer something for everyone.”
Indeed, Sky’s VOD service is key to the relaunch. Sky Arts On Demand now offers customers over 1,000 hours of dedicated arts programming, while Sky will also introduce exclusive VOD-only content, either commissioned original programming or content acquired especially for the service, as part of its overall budget increase of 10 per cent.
Sky’s connected TV platform currently has over 7 million connected customers, while Sky Arts reaches over 5 million customers each month. Now, Sky Arts On Demand can be accessed via a Sky Arts tab on Sky+ set top boxes – the first time this has been done for a Sky channel – allowing customers to navigate through a curated selection of content, with menus divided by genres, themes and areas of interest.
In a unique new feature, Galleries On Demand, Sky Arts will also partner with galleries to offer up a masterpiece painting a day to download to act as a smart TV backdrop in customer homes.
For non-Sky customers, the improved Sky Arts catalogue will be accessible via NOW TV. The VOD service offers streaming access to Sky’s TV channels, both live and on catch-up after broadcast, for £6.99 a month (no contract). On NOW TV, users can browse Sky Art’s VOD line-up through an A-Z list here.
The new-look Sky Arts kicks off tonight with Birthday, starring Stephen Mangan. The drama, based on the play by , is broadcast on Sky Arts at 9pm, both for Sky and NOW TV customers.
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