Foxtel has confirmed plans to launch a new high definition channel dedicated to arts and entertainment in early 2015.
Foxtel claims the new channel creatively titled, Foxtel ARTS HD, will "showcase the full breadth of artistic forms including the world’s finest opera and ballet productions, theatre, dance, cabaret, classical and contemporary performance as well as informative documentary specials and series from the diverse world of cinema, literature, music, visual art, artists and the history of ideas and techniques from which art is created".
The channel will be owned and controlled directly by Foxtel and replaces the current Arts channel Studio which is produced and owned by SBS. Foxtel has been slowly removing channels operated by third parties as it seeks stronger controls and exclusives over the content it acquires to prevent programming being shared with new competitors such as Netflix and Stan.
This website understands Foxtel is planning to also produce its own foreign movie channel when the current contract for the SBS owned World Movies channel expires, this World Movie content would also be available via Foxtel's Presto service. The change would see Foxtel compete directly against the taxpayer funded broadcaster to secure exclusive world movie content. SBS recently confirmed a deal to supply World Movies to the Nine/Fairfax owned SVOD service Stan.
Foxtel is expected to add Television content featuring exclusive titles from HBO and BBC among others, to its own Presto SVOD service in early 2015 to combat competition from Netflix and Stan.
Foxtel Executive Director of Television, Brian Walsh, said: "The new Foxtel ARTS HD channel will draw from a rich and varied television palette – from the timeless to the contemporary – to create extraordinary experiences from Australia and around the world for an intelligent and passionate arts and entertainment audience."
"The channel will extend Foxtel’s commitment to fostering and supporting Australia’s creative industries and arts organisations. As a vital part of Australia’s cultural life, Foxtel ARTS HD will feature locally produced magazine shows and specials, festival news and information, in depth interviews and reviews, all in High Definition.
"With Foxtel ARTS HD, we will also participate in and support the broad spectrum of arts communities working in Australia today and invite our subscribers to enjoy an ongoing awareness of Australia’s rich creativity and the inspiring people behind its dynamic artistic expression."
The channel will feature the world’s most renowned orchestras, ensembles and companies and highlight the finest performing artists from the greatest opera houses, concert halls and festival stages including Daniel Barenboim, Renee Fleming, Herbert Von Karajan and Anne Sophie Mutter as well as the popular favourite, Andre Rieu. Foxtel ARTS HD will be the new home to major awards shows including Australia’s annual Helpmann Awards for live performance and Broadway’s coveted Tony Awards.
In its documentary offering, Foxtel ARTS HD will discuss, dissect and deliberate a wide variety of artistic endeavours from the visual arts, literature, all forms of theatre as well as the luminaries, traditions and cultural developments that have shaped art and artists and which continue to exert an influence today.