The Arts Council has offered £1.8M of Lottery funding to  digital content company Rightster to set up and run a new multi-channel network (MCN) for the arts.

MCNs are aggregations of large numbers of YouTube channels, run by independent third-party companies. These are proving highly successful in attracting audiences to lifestyle areas such as food, sport, fashion and comedy, and we hope to achieve the same for the arts.

By providing seedcorn investment to support this network, the Arts Council hopes to help audiences to discover arts content online and extend the reach of publically funded arts by bringing together existing content from multiple arts providers to create a new online destination and community of interest.

Next steps

During autumn 2014, Rightster will be working with the arts and culture sector to develop their plans with a view to launching the new channel in spring/summery 2015. Funding will be made available between October 2014- March 2018.

Sir Peter Bazalgettte

Rightster applied for the MCN grant commission in May 2014. In July 2014 they bought Base 79, a company in which Arts Council Chair, Sir Peter Bazalgette, had a shareholding (declared in the Arts Council’s register of interests in November 2013).  Rightster’s purchase of Base79 is a cash+shares transaction, the shares dependent on Base79’s future performance, so Sir Peter Bazalgette has a potential interest in Rightster. He has not been party to the decision to award the grant to Rightster.