Murdoch’s Sky Paybox Sets Up Dedicated Sky Arts Production Hub in Milan

ROME — Rupert Murdoch’s pan-European Sky paybox is establishing a dedicated Sky Arts Production Hub in Milan to increase commissioning of arts programming available for its 21 million subscribers across Europe, in a move bound to have a major impact on European arts content creators and producers, and also for discerning TV audiences.

Concurrently the Sky Arts in the U.K. and Ireland will undergo a major revamp, offering customers an on-demand catalog of arts programming with over 1,000 hours of content available at launch including programs commissioned and acquired exclusively for on demand viewing.

Also in these territories the Sky Arts 1 and Sky Arts 2 channels are being merged to create a single arts superchannel with a 10% increase in programming investment.

The new English-language Sky Arts channel will launch on June 9.

The Milan-based Sky Arts Production Hub will entail a Euros 18 million ($19.5 million) investment over three years. It will focus on producing pan-European events and a broad slate of arts programming for customers across all Sky territories — which are U.K., Ireland, Italy, and Germany — in addition to locally commissioned content.

While that may not seem like such a huge sum, it puts Sky in the same league as publicly funded Franco-German TV channel Arte, which up until now dominated in this field.

Sky is now a potential production partner for the large number of European indies who make arts docus and other arts content, which is clearly pulling greater ratings these days, especially on pay TV.

As its inaugural pan-European arts event, Sky will launch a Sky Arts Photographer of the Year competition in 2016, which will seek to crown the best amateur photographer in Europe, spanning all forms of the medium.

The call for entries for this competition will be announced later this year.

“Today’s announcement represents a major new commitment which 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,” enthused Jeremy Darroch, Sky group chief executive, in a statement.

Darroch also noted that “bringing the three Sky businesses together has opened up the opportunity to create new and exciting content on a greater scale.”

The choice of Milan as Sky Arts Production hub reps a welcome boost for the Italian industry, and also for Sky Italia, where the Sky Arte channel has been producing great content, so far on a shoestring budget.

“We are really proud that Sky has chosen Italy for its Sky Arts Production Hub,” said Sky Italian content chief Andrea Scrosati.

“First and foremost it stands as testimony to the extraordinary talent that our country is able to offer in this sector. It’s also a great opportunity for our market to further develop its professionalism, competence and passion when it comes to producing cultural content.”

The Sky Arts Production Hub clearly has the potential to contribute to the growth of both the Italian and European culture industries.

More TV

  • Seth Meyers TV Take Podcast

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Announces Seth Meyers's Standup Special

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix announced the premiere date for “Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby” and Epix released a trailer for “Belgravia.” CASTING AMC announced that “Succession” actor Sarah Snook, David Costabile (“Breaking Bad”) and Sonya Cassidy (“Lodge 49”) have been cast in its upcoming anthology series from Will Bridges and Brett Goldstein. The still-to-be-titled series is set 15 years into the [...]

  • Rachel Maddow

    Four Female Journalists Will Moderate Next Democratic Debate

    Four women will moderate the next Democratic debate, slated for broadcast on MSNBC. Rachel Maddow, the primetime host; Andrea Mitchell, the veteran foreign correspondent; Kristen Welker, the NBC News White House correspondent; and Ashley Parker, a Washington Post White House reporter, will moderate the event, MSNBC said Wednesday. The broadcast is slated for November 20. [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    Megan Clarken, Key Nielsen Executive, Will Depart Company (EXCLUSIVE)

    Megan Clarken, a Nielsen executive who has been instrumental in the company’s quest to keep tabs on consumers in the many new ways they have to watch TV, is leaving the measurement giant. “After 15 years at Nielsen, Megan Clarken will be leaving at the end of the month to take on a new position [...]

  • James Murdoch

    James Murdoch on 'Succession,' Pete Buttigieg and Climate Change

    James Murdoch doesn’t watch Fox News and he doesn’t watch “Succession.” “There are some shows that you just know you’re never going to watch,” the youngest son of media mogul and Fox Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch told Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Radhika Jones on Wednesday, alluding to to the HBO series centered on a family-run media [...]

  • Freddie Prinze Jr First Impressions

    Freddie Prinze Jr. Joins ‘Punky Brewster’ Sequel Pilot at NBCU’s Peacock Streamer

    Freddie Prinze Jr. is joining another pilot, this time at NBCUniversal’s forthcoming Peacock streaming service. He will play a recurring role in the “Punky Brewster” sequel pilot which was ordered when the Peacock unfurled its slate of feathers back in September. Prinze Jr. was a part of the pilot for the CW’s “Nancy Drew” earlier [...]

  • Traci Blackwell

    BET Names Traci Lynn Blackwell Head of Scripted

    Traci Lynn Blackwell has joined BET has head of scripted programming. Blackwell joins BET from the CW, where she was senior VP, current programming. As executive VP, scripted programming, Blackwell will lead all originals efforts for BET Networks’ linear channels and streaming service BET Plus. She will report to BET Networks president Scott Mills. “Traci [...]

  • Ted Sarandos Netflix

    Ted Sarandos: Netflix Is Why 'Friends,' 'The Office' Remain So Popular

    In an onstage conversation with Katie Couric at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit on Wednesday, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos waved away concerns over the streaming service’s upcoming loss of “Friends” and “The Office,” instead focusing on the company’s push in original programming and its international content growth. “One of the reasons ‘Friends’ and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content