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Sky Arts to be relaunched as single TV channel plus on demand content

Wednesday, April 29th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Sky has announced more changes to its channel lineup, consolidating its two arts channels into a single ‘super channel’.

The company is merging Sky Arts 1 and Sky Arts 2, combining content from both channels in a change that will see it moved higher up the broadcaster’s Electronic Programme Guide (EPG).

As part of the revamp, set to take place from 9 June, Sky is also launching a comprehensive Sky Arts on demand service with more than 1,000 hours of dedicated arts programming.

The announcement comes just days after Sky revealed its 3D material will only be available on demand from June, spelling the end of its dedicated 3D channel.

Announcing the changes to Sky Arts, director Philip Edgar-Jones said: “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.

“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.”

Exclusive content

As part of the changes, Sky Arts will receive a 10% increase to its programming budget and its on demand channel will be accessed via a Sky Arts tab – the first time for a Sky channel.

Sky Arts, which currently reaches more than five million customers each month, will also acquire and commission content exclusively for the on demand service.

Alongside its changes, Sky Arts has unveiled a new programming line-up, including a new ‘sex season’, new dramas from Stephen Mangan, Idris Elba and Rhys Ifans; and comedy with Kim Cattrall, Frank Skinner and Vic Reeves.

A new strand Hot Tickets will offer customers front row seats to ballet and theatre performances, as well as classical concerts and Guitar Star, the quest to find the UK and Ireland’s best guitarist.

Sky Arts’ dedicated on demand area, and its move to channel 121 will take place on 9 June.

Last week, Sky announced that from June, its 3D channel is going fully on demand.

Luke Bradley-Jones, the company’s brand director of TV Products, made the announcement on the blog pages of Sky’s corporate site, saying: “The changes to 3D are all part of making our on demand offering a fantastic destination for customers.

Last week, Sky also announced its biggest growth in customer numbers in 11 years.

The company revealed that more than 242,000 new subscribers signed up with the broadband, TV and landline provider during a nine-month period ending in March this year.

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