Mozart Goes MTV: Classic FM to Launch UK TV Channel

26 November 2002

British radio station Classic FM is to launch a 24-hour ad-funded television channel dedicated to classical music.

Hitting the airwaves at the end of the year, Classic FM TV will take its place near MTV, Q and other pop music offerings on Sky Digital, the dTV platform owned by BSkyB.

In a move sure to enrage classical music traditionalists, it will try to expand the genre’s audience by adopting the format of neighbouring pop channels. It will feature an MTV-style succession of brief music videos spliced with idents, while such medieval fare as music documentaries and full-length operas or concerts will be eschewed.

Classic FM – which has also expanded into magazines and CDs – has been developing the channel for two years and is confident it has enough material for the launch. It hopes its move into TV will prompt record companies to release more videos of classical music performances.

The channel will be wholly funded by ads, with no subscription required to view it. It hopes to gain a modest 0.2% audience share at first, below most music channels’ 0.5%.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff