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Artsworld to launch this year

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Artsworld Channels Ltd is to launch a new television channel for the arts. The channel, Artsworld, will be an a la carte premium subscription service licensed by the ITC and available exclusively on Sky digital throughout Britain and Eire.

Artsworld will be a popular channel embracing the whole world of the arts, with not only classical music, opera, dance and visual art but also antiques, architecture, books, collecting, cinema, design, jazz, travel, theatre, and much more. Transmitting from noon to midnight, its schedule will include hundreds of hours of original productions including a wide range of performances, daily arts reviews, previews and news, documentaries and features. Independent producers will be commissioned to make the majority of original programmes.

In addition, the channel will carry a selection of feature films and high-quality arts programmes from television organisations throughout the world – the majority not seen previously on UK or Irish television.

An integral part of Artsworld will be its Internet service, artsworld.com, which will aim to be the principal arts portal for the UK and Eire. It will make available comprehensive national, regional and international information for the arts audience and will be closely integrated with programmes on the digital channel. Both services will launch this year.

The company, founded by its Chairman Sir Jeremy Isaacs and a group of partners, is a joint venture between a number of major investors including British Sky Broadcasting and Guardian Media Group (each of whom has a 20 per cent interest in Artsworld Channels Ltd).

Announcing the venture, Sir Jeremy Isaacs said: "This channel is for an audience that appreciates the arts, and wants to see, hear and learn more about them, but which is not fully served by television. Equally importantly, it is for an arts community that needs and deserves a platform of its own in the vastly multiplying world of new channels. Artsworld will have a single, clear, constant remit - undiluted by the necessity to carry sport or soaps or sitcoms. We will be a channel of, and for, the arts."

Welcoming the channel on behalf of BSkyB, Sky Networks Managing Director Elisabeth Murdoch said: “Sky’s remit to provide a ‘digital vision for everyone’ is now highly relevant for the arts community as terrestrial TV moves away from specialist towards more populist programming.

“Through Artsworld, Sky digital will offer a high-quality general arts channel which will be entertaining, inclusive and interactive.???

Robert Phillis, Chief Executive of Guardian Media Group, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this exciting new channel. Its high-quality, sector-specific content complements GMG’s developing multi-media strategy. At a time when media headlines are so often technology-led, Artsworld will provide the most important ingredient of all: popular content of high creative quality. I look forward very much to working with Sir Jeremy and John Hambley and their team who will be driving the channel forward.???

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