UK Government sketches out plans for arts channel

Editor ©RapidTVNews | 21-06-2012

Putting aside his grilling at the Leveson Inquiry and his failure to garner full confidence for his position among all of the UK coalition Government, UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has revealed the prospect of a new digital TV channel.
The proposed new channel could form part of a solution to the issue of future funding agreements for a perennially cash-pressed UK arts community which can no longer rely upon state-backed largesse.

In a speech to an audience drawn from the arts and heritage sectors Hunt urged the arts to embrace new technology. He said: “there are some amazing things happening, whether it’s David Hockney’s iPad drawings or the fact that last month I went to see La bohème and the same time as I saw it in the Opera House, eight thousand people were watching it on 22 live screens throughout the country ... So technology is doing some amazing things, but still for too many cultural organisations technology is essentially about having a good website and there’s much, much more we can do.”

Hunt proposed that The Space, an ACE/BBC project should be a model for a permanent home to showcase the UK’s finest cultural offerings, including live performances, museum exhibitions and maybe home to a TV channel. He added: “The question I want to pose it: should we be even more ambitious about The Space? Should we turn this into permanent, brand new digital arts channel, with live performances every single day of the year?

"And let me say this as a challenge: should we make it a condition of public funding for the arts that the recipients of that funding provide, free of charge some of their content for live broadcast on a new digital arts channel as a way of making sure that that content reaches more of the audiences who are funding it through their taxes? I leave that as a question with you.”