Press Release

BT boosts Tate's online gallery

BT boosts Tate's online gallery: Press related to past Tate news.

From 29 August, BT will become the first sponsor of the Tate website. is one of the largest and most popular arts websites in the world, containing catalogue entries for over 25,000 items in the Tate Collection, 14,000 images, 2,500 pages of text online and a sophisticated subject search mechanism which allows users easily to locate information. Launched in 1998, the website currently attracts over 800,000* hits a day.

BT’s generous support over the next two years will enable Tate to develop and expand its online facilities such as the Collection catalogue and research archives, thereby fulfilling Tate’s longstanding aim of increased public access to the national collection of British and international modern art. In addition to BT’s financial support, BTOpenworld will act as the deliverer of the website, providing technical support which will allow Tate to commission more web art, web casting projects and collaborations with artists.

The new programme, enabled by this sponsorship, will start in autumn this year, with a special online project in collaboration with Damien Hirst and focusing on his installation work Pharmacy. The work goes on display at Tate Modern in October as part of Still Life/Object/Real Life within the Collection displays, which are also in association with BT. Virtual reality technology will enable online users to explore the space, and Hirst will tell the story of the work and its creation, using previously unpublished material.

Sandy Nairne, Director: Programmes, Tate, commented:

‘I am thrilled that BT are enabling us to bring art from the Tate Collection to so many more people through their support of Tate Online. It’s a great partnership which allows us to extend our work world-wide.’

BT Group communications director, Robin Pauley, said:

‘The extension of BT’s sponsorship of Tate into the online arena takes the partnership to an exciting new level. Through this agreement, Tate’s extensive collection becomes truly accessible and BT is very proud to be the enabling force behind this.’

*Hits are registered as files requested by users. It is estimated that the website attracts over one million visitors a year.

Editor notes

Tate’s website was launched in February 1998. It now provides access to over 25,000 works in the Tate Collection with 14,000 images. Coupled with a sophisticated subject search mechanism and information about artists and key works, Tate Online provides access to Tate’s works of art to those who may never be able to visit in person, as well as to regular gallery-goers. Over the past year a programme of experimental live webcasts from Tate Modern has included artists, critics and cultural historians. The website also provides a discussion forum about art and has included special commissions by contemporary artists Mongrel/Graham Harwood and Simon Patterson.

As part of the BT sponsorship package, Tate has recently appointed Jemima Rellie as its first Head of Digital Programmes. She will lead a small team working with staff across the whole Tate organisation to develop more content and extend online services.

To coincide with the launch of the Centenary Development at Tate Britain in November 2001, an introduction is being created for each of the newly-displayed rooms - more than forty in all - with additional layers of information where appropriate. These will range from relevant historical background material for some rooms to special features relating to the particular selection made by a curator in others. This approach will give online visitors the chance to explore the new displays in depth and to focus on key individual works.

Facts and figures on

The information below is taken from market research carried out by MORI. 1123 people completed the questionnaire, which was available in English. They answered questions about themselves, their use of the internet, and how they use and rate the Tate website.

59% of respondants live in the UK, 21% in North America, 14% Europe, 6% elsewhere42% of Tate Website users found our website through a search engine (Yahoo, AltaVista and Google were the most popular)Most Tate web visitors are not regular Tate gallery visitors: 38% have not visited any Tate gallery in person during the last two years, and 24% have visited only once. This suggests the site is reaching a significant new constituency.48% were first-time visitors to our website, 52% were making a repeat visit.
23% had visited the site four or more times before. Tate web users are very active web consumers: 60% have bought books online, 46% travel tickets, 43% CDs, 35% gifts, 33% theatre/ concert/ exhibition tickets, 30% have taken out memberships and 8% have made a charitable/arts donation online.The most popular reasons for visiting the site were to view or find out about works of art (50%) and for information on collection displays (36%), temporary exhibitions (31%), opening times (27%) and how to get to one of the galleries (22%).80% of people scored both the quantity and quality of information on the site as good/very good, 76% gave the same rating to site design, and 67% likewise for download speed.85% said they had enjoyed their web visit and 80% planned to visit in person; 47% said they were more likely to visit Tate in person as a result of their web visit, and 84% of people said they would recommend the Tate website to others.