Foxtel Arts channel to close

Stand-alone Arts channel to end, but international arts docos will screen on FOX Docos.

EXCLUSIVE: Foxtel Arts channel will close at the end of August as Foxtel introduces FOX Docos on Ch. 129.

It brings to an end a stand-alone Arts channel designed to attract affluent, discerning subscribers interested in opera, ballet, music, theatre, dance, cabaret, classical and contemporary performance, documentary specials and series from cinema, literature, music, visual art and artists.

Foxtel Arts launched in 2016 replacing SBS-owned STUDIO, which itself replaced Ovation in 2010.

Amongst its local productions were Screen, with reviews by Margaret Pomeranz and Graeme Blundell (last seen in March 2020), The Archibald, partnerships with the Australian Ballet, Sydney and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, National Portrait Gallery, Helpmann Awards and the AACTA Awards.

International titles included The Sound of Music Live, Peter Pan Live, Bach’s St. John Passion Les Miserables Live from the O2 Arena, Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake and Le Corsaire, Andre Rieu concerts, the Tony Awards and more.

In 2017 it was downgraded to sharing channels with Smooth -which itself disappeared in June 2020.

While it isn’t clear if Australian performances will continue to enjoy partnerships, Foxtel is retaining its international arts docos for the new channel.

“From September 1, 2021 Foxtel Arts will merge into a new destination, FOX Docos, where its hugely popular series and specials will sit alongside an award-winning a line-up of unscripted content from around the world. Foxtel routinely evaluates its channel line up to ensure our content strategy and programming best reflects our customers viewing preferences and habits,” a spokesperson told TV Tonight.

“FOX Docos will feature an unrivalled library of documentary content, covering everything from celebrity biographies, artist performances and popular sports documentaries, to epic travelogue series, brilliant indie docos, incredible real-life stories and inspiring art documentaries.

“Key programs from Foxtel Arts to appear on FOX Docos include Fake or Fortune, The Art Detectives, Landscape Artist of the Year, Portrait Artist of the Year, Stars Of The Silver Screen, Inside the Actors Studio and Rock Legends. FOX Docos will continue showcasing Performances as part of its ongoing strategy, and will also continue to expand on the Arts catalogue with series including Classical Destinations: The Great Composers, The Music From Classical Destinations With Simon Callow and Write Around the World.

FOX Docos launches Sept 1 on Ch. 129.

7 Responses

  1. I think this is the third time an Arts channel has failed on Foxtel going back to the Ovation Channel. It’s a shame as there is a lot less niche material available any more on Foxtel.

  2. This is such a shame to hear – back when I was a Foxtel subscriber, I appreciated that they offered a dedicated channel for the arts, was hugely disappointed when it got sidelined for half the day for “Smooth” for some inexplicable reason, and relived when it came back as a full-time channel.

    Having diversity of content is important, and Foxtel’s slowly been chipping away at that diversity even as its subscriber base shrinks.

    A doco channel will undoubtedly be a winner (it was such a popular pack on Foxtel Now that they ended up locking it behind the $104 bundle) but losing the Arts channel for it – when there are so many duplicate SD channels wasting space on the satellite – seems like they’re taking an opportunity to cut costs again.

  3. By no means was I a regular viewer but I did stumble across The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling one night which was excellent. Presumably that type of film still makes the doco channel.

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