Sky Arts Freeview launch planned

Sky wants to add its arts channel to Freeview as part of the broadcaster's mission to shake up public service broadcasting. 

But according to industry journal Broadcast, if it can't secure a new Freeview slot, one of its existing Freeview channels - Pick, Sky News or Challenge - could be given the chop to make way for the channel.

The free-to-air switch is due to take place in the Autumn, according to the Broadcast report and follows similar speculation of a free-to-air move back in 2018.

Last week, Sky's EVP Stephen van Rooyen, UK and Europe, suggested Ofcom should consider a radical reform of public service broadcasting in the UK, which sheds light on why Sky would consider making Sky Arts a free-to-air service.

He said:
It’s clear from Ofcom’s report that the UK broadcast landscape has been transformed over the past five years. Now is the perfect time for Ofcom to think radically about how the existing PSB model can be reformed, so that all providers, including non-PSBs like Sky, can make an even bigger contribution to the UK broadcasting industry and the cultural economy.”

Sky's current slots on Freeview

  • Pick - channel 11 - multiplex COM5 (Arqiva)
  • Challenge - channel 46 - multiplex COM5 (Arqiva)
  • Pick+1 - channel 92 - multiplex COM7 (Arqiva) * limited UK coverage
  • Sky News - channel 233 - multiplex COM5 (Arqiva)