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Jeremy Hunt proposes The Space to become a permanent free art channel

Experimental broadband TV arts portal The Space could stay on as a state-funded free arts channel.

The Space is an on-demand video library launched for the Cultural Olympiad this summer, available online and through the red button on Freeview HD kit that’s been connected to the internet.

More than 50 arts organisations have contributed videos from Shakespeare plays at The Globe to an interactive re-creation of the late John Peel’s home studio and record collection.

The Space

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested The Space could be kept going beyond October, with recipients of Arts Council funding committed to contributing content.

He told an audience at the V&A Museum: “Should we be even more ambitious about The Space? Should we turn this into a permanent, brand new digital arts channel, with live performances every single day of the year?

“Should we make it a condition of public funding for the arts that the recipients of that funding provide, free of charge, some of their content for live broadcast on a new digital arts channel as a way of making sure that that content reaches more of the audiences who are funding it through their taxes?”

The Space is funded by the BBC and a £3.5m grant from the Arts Council England, using an interactive media player developed by technology firm S&T.

If launched full-time, The Space would compete with Sky Arts, the arts channel set up by Sky several years ago. It’s been so successful it was split into two channels covering highbrow arts and mainstream culture. 

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