ARTE (Association relative à la télévision européenne) is a public Franco-German TV network, a European channel, that promotes programming in the areas of culture and the arts. It is made up of three separate companies: the Strasbourg-based European Economic Interest Grouping ARTE GEIE, plus two member companies acting as editorial and programme production centres, ARTE France in Paris (France) and ARTE Deutschland in Baden-Baden (Germany). As an international joint venture (an EEIG), its programmes cater technically to audiences from both France and Germany. This implies double-titling, opposite-language subtitling, dubbing, hosts who speak both languages alternately, and two separate audio tracks (through DVB-T, satellite television and digital cable).
80% of ARTE’s programming are provided in equal proportion by the two member companies ARTE France and ARTE Deutschland while the remainder is being provided by ARTE GEIE and the channel’s European partners.
ARTE France was formerly known as La Sept. ARTE Deutschland TV GmbH is a subsidiary of the two main public German TV networks ARD and ZDF.
Selected programmes are available with English, Spanish and Polish subtitles online.
ARTE began transmission in 1992, filling frequencies left unused by the demise of La Cinq, the first French commercial television network (created in 1986). The opening night on 30 May 1992 was broadcast live from the Strasbourg Opera House.
ARTE started out as an evening-only service. In the daytime, the frequencies were shared with other channels. A public channel called Télé emploi occupied the French frequencies for about a month during 1994, before the start of La Cinquième (now France 5) in December that year. For German viewers, ARTE was assigned a frequency on the Astra 1D satellite in late 1994, and it was eventually shared with Nickelodeon Germany, later replaced by the new public children’s channel Kinderkanal.
In 1996, it started offering an afternoon schedule with reruns for viewers on digital satellite and digital cable. A “proper” afternoon schedule with programmes between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. was introduced on 6 January 2001. The channel eventually got its own analogue frequency on the Astra satellites.
Since 2005 ARTE broadcasts 24/7. In 2007 the catch-up service ARTE+7 is launched, offering internet users free access to a broad range of programs within seven days of their original transmission.
ARTE is broadcast in France and Germany free of charge 24 hours via satellite (Astra and Hot Bird), cable, ADSL and digital terrestrial television (DTT), as well as on the internet and mobile devices. Many satellite, cable, DSL and IPTV operators in other European countries, Africa and the rest of the world carry ARTE’s programmes as well.
ARTE programmes are available with multi-channel audio: all programmes go out in French and in German. Further the original version is screened whenever possible with subtitles in French and German and the hearing or visually impaired may get subtitles or an audio description. Since 2015 a selection of programmes are available with English and Spanish subtitles online, with Polish to follow in late 2016.
The channel enjoys a major footprint in Europe. Both the German and the French version can be received in nearly whole Europe via the satellite Astra1 (19, 2° East), the French version is also available via Hot Bird (13° East). In addition ARTE is relayed not only by all cable networks in Germany and France, but by numerous cable networks in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and in the Netherlands too.
Since 2008 ARTE broadcasts in HD in Germany and in France. Like the national channels of its own respective countries, the German HDTVversion of ARTE broadcasts in 720p50, while the French one broadcasts in 1080i25. In April 2016 ARTE co-produced (with Astra satellite owner waist pack with water bottle, SES) a live Ultra-high-definition television broadcast of the Le Corsaire ballet from the Vienna State Opera. The programme was transmitted free-to-air on the UHD1 demonstration channel from the Astra 19.2°E satellites.
Online ARTE programmes can be streamed live or watched on catch-up TV for at least 7 and up to 700 days on and the theme platforms , , , or .
In Africa, ARTE is broadcast via satellite, cable, MMDS and ADSL in many other countries, via the digital service CanalSat Horizons. Many French-language ARTE programs are also broadcast in Canada on the Ici ARTV cable channel, partly owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (85%) and ARTE itself (15%). The Australian Special Broadcasting Service translates many ARTE programs into English for broadcast on its own television network and overseas.
ARTE usually has more viewers in France than in Germany. In 2015, its share of overall viewing was about 2,2 % in France and about 1 % in Germany. The differences can be put down to the different television markets in both countries. In France, ARTE was long-time available to almost everyone as one of six analogue terrestrial channels. Relatively few French households received cable and satellite television pink footy socks, and the other terrestrial channels didn’t really compete with ARTE. Meanwhile, thanks to widespread roll-out of cable television, the vast majority of German households had access to about three dozen channels, including several from the public broadcasters with content similar to Arte. After the introduction of digital terrestrial television in France, ARTE’s market share has fallen there, while it has been more or less flat in Germany.
ARTE offers programmes on all sorts of screens that are free and without advertising. The new media formats complement the on-air programming.
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Since November 2015 ARTE offers selected programmes online with subtitles in English and Spanish, and since November 2016 in Polish. The free offer is a project that ARTE is running with financial support from the European Union. The subtitled programmes are available at , and .
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