It’s not new to hear a channel controller express that their job is the best in the business. They would say that wouldn’t they? But it’s hard not to believe Phil Edgar-Jones, the man in charge of Sky Arts, when he describes his channel’s ambitions.
Sky Arts was formed from the merger of Sky Arts 1 and 2, launching as a “super channel” in June. “It’s an on-demand service with 10,000 hours of content so far. It’s updated all the time and means customers can watch our back catalogue whenever they wish,” Edgar-Jones told an audience at a Bristol Centre event held at the Arnolfini in late September.
Edgar-Jones was joined on stage by Sky commissioner Siobhan Mulholland as he outlined the opportunities for all arts genres, including comedy, opera, ballet, drama and music.
He also discussed the Sky Arts Amplify initiative, which brings together arts organisations and production companies to develop partnerships and pitch ideas to the channel. The initiative is backed to the tune of £3 million over three years.
The first commissions include a drama-doc about sexting with the National Youth Theatre and a new work at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Earlier in the day Edgar-Jones and his team had spent time with arts organisations and independent broadcasters in Bristol. “We had a truly inspiring and invigorating day in Bristol,” he said.
“I am a huge admirer of Bristol as a powerhouse for the creative industries and a brilliant benchmark for the UK in general. And, given Banksy is from Bristol, there must be an essence of genius in the water.”