Art on TV - does anybody care?

A

ArtsWom

Guest
I wrote this article for the Sky Arts sponsored blog, ArtsWom, and would like to know your opinions...

"Tiscali, the British broadband, telecoms and media company, announced last month that it has reached a deal with BSkyB to add the full set of Sky basic channels to its line up. Why mention this on the usually more creatively-fragrant and culturally-indulgent pages of ArtsWom? Well, judging from conversations online, there is a certain amount of buzz from viewers keen to have Sky Arts pumped into their tele-o-tron.

Is this indicative of a growing desire from viewers for more intelligent programming, or is it simply that people are growing tired of the uninspired dramas, generic reality shows and big budget Hollywood movies churned out on more mainstream channels? The recent Guardian Unlimited post, “In Praise of Arts Television”, promotes the importance of such channels as BBC4, More4 and Sky Arts and stimulated strong responses from readers.

The contributor’s perspective is that while these small, arty channels enjoy little audience, this should in no way diminish their importance. Seemingly an uncontroversial assertion, but ArtsWom questions this laissez-faire attitude – particularly considering that, out of all the Sky channels now being shown on Tiscali, Sky Arts appears to have generated the most excitement. Are we being naïve in thinking that there are a large number of people out there who sit on the cusp between mainstream TV and cultural TV and just need that extra push? Should such a division even exist? Let us know your thoughts."
 

alan8477

Active Member
Sky Arts is an excellent service, and is the main reason why I recently subscribed to SkyHD. The spread of programmes is rich and varied. It is certainly THE place to see and hear opera and classical music.

I was a fairly late convert to the likes of Mozart and Puccini, only becoming interested during my early 30s. I am so pleased that Sky Arts exists, as there are few places you can go on TV to have this desire satisfied.

Well done Sky Arts.
 

PoochJD

Distinguished Member
HI,

Sky Arts (or Artsworld as it was formerly known) is a good channel, and has shown some damn fine stuff.

Though not a fan of art myself - simply because it's something I don't entirely get - the channel has introduced me to some material that no other channel would have bothered to air. They've also shown the entire Beyreuth production of Wagner's Ring Cycle, and for that they should be congratulated.

They've also allowed me to see "Slings And Arrows", which is a great Canadian comedy/drama set in the world of a low-budget theatre company, but starring Paul "Due South" Gross.

It's one of the many reasons, I originally signed-up for Sky, because no other company offered this channel. They also show a lot of foreign-films too, which is great fun.

I wish BBC4 would show more foreign-films, but with the advent of DVD, and the relatively small audience figures that these kinds of movies get, only the best and most well-known titles tend to get shown. What we need, is a channel like the original Film4 used to be like, where you'd get entire season's of a director's work, plus themed sets of movies, and some real obscurities that simply never get shown any more. Sadly, Film4 decided that ratings and popularity was more essential, and so just shows endless repeats of stuff that's been shown many times before on other channels.

Now, if only Sky Arts would air more movies....


Pooch
 

Barbara2001

Active Member
They also showed Buddha of Suburbia with Naveen Andrews. I also enjoyed The Mikada. Just because you don't like/watch anything they broadcase (and it is a wide variery of programmes) doesn't make it any less worthy. I never watch the shopping channels, but I don't want them off the air as I know many people like them.
 

drunkenmaster

Active Member
I care - superb music choices from Classical to Jazz, theatre, visual art and decent documentaries and as mentioned the occasional movie that are rarley shown on commercial TV. Hopefully this thread and the blog might encourage others to tune in.
 

brian s

Distinguished Member
I have Freeview so have access to BBC4 and More4. I'd love to watch them but don't because of the logos/dogs. I'm concerned about possible screenburn on my set but my main concern is how distracting and annoying they are. How can high brow channels justify low brow logos in the corner for those who are too thick to know which channel they are watching?

Bri
 
A

ArtsWom

Guest
Thanks for all the responses. It'll be cool to know more about what you want to see on arty channels - and this goes to people who don't watch these kinds of channels as well as those that do. I'll probably be able to pass the message on to the Sky Arts team - I'm sure they'd love to hear this kind of feedback.

Barbara2001 - I think the problem isn't so much people wanting the art channels off the air, it's the temptation to change the content to make it more accesible to a mainstream audience. In the race for viewers, this is almost inevitable. Do you think art channels can keep their highbrow content and appeal to a greater audience?

This links in to what Brian S said about the logos. I assume the channels are doing this so that casual viewers might flick over, see something that they like, and instantly know what they're watching. This again is about the conflict between highbrow and lowbrow entertainment. Should the managers of such channels be deliberately restricting their audience to keep the core faithful satisfied or is it a good thing that they are trying to spread wider. How would you keep this balance?
 

brian s

Distinguished Member
It'll be cool to know more about what you want to see on arty channels

For me any logo free art channels should try to provide a wide range of material to dip into. My own interests are mainly music and film but I'd check on anything they'd have to offer. My main love is jazz. Gil Evans, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Billy Jenkins and Iain Ballamy are some of the artists I'd really like to see whether in a documentry or in concert. Outside of jazz anything that doesn't get much exposure on mainstream TV Hanne Hukkleburg, Annette Peacock and Tinariwen.

Again with film anything outside the mainstream. Maybe like The Draughtsman's Contract and Being John Malkovich. Foreigh language films such as Run Lola Run and Amelie.

Also any decent TV drama such as Buddha Of Suburbia as mentioned by Barbara 2001 or Heimat.

Cheers
Bri
 

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