Sky Arts draws up major expansion plans

DetailsEditor | 28 May 2015

On the clear basis of art for art's sake, Sky is to launch a summer initiative to boost its art collection for customers in Italy, Germany, Austria, Ireland and the UK.

The European pay-TV giant is to make one of its first major international content initiatives since the creation of the new Sky in November 2014. In addition to more arts programming, the campaign will see the launch of a new on-demand service and the extension of Sky Arts to entirely new international audiences.

The new initiative will be centred from a new commissioning and production centre, the Sky Arts Production Hub, based in Milan and dedicated to creating arts programming for Sky customers across Europe. The hub will also produce a slate of arts programming for customers across all Sky territories in addition to content commissioned locally.

The company chose Italy because of what it says is its worldwide reputation for creativity, production quality and talent, making it the ideal place to produce the kind of arts programming that will appeal across different markets.

As its inaugural pan-European arts event, Sky will launch Sky Arts Photographer of the Year in 2016.

Alongside the new hub, Sky Arts in the UK and Ireland will undergo a major re-launch, offering customers what is claimed to be the most comprehensive on-demand catalogue of arts programming with over 1,000 hours of content available at launch including programmes commissioned and acquired exclusively for on-demand viewing. The Sky Arts 1 and Sky Arts 2 channels will a merge to create a single 'super-channel'.

"Bringing the three Sky businesses together has opened up the opportunity to create new and exciting content on a greater scale," commented Sky Group chief executive Jeremy Darroch. "As an international company, we can raise our ambition and make a bigger impact for millions of customers across Europe. [The] announcement represents a major new commitment [that] will bring customers high quality and distinctive content covering the full breadth of the arts. It builds on Sky's position as Europe's leading entertainment company and underlines our ambition to invest at scale in even more of our own original content."