February 1986 * The French tv programming company La Sept is founded in Paris.
November 1988 * The French government and the German Länder responsible for broadcasting announce plans to study the feasibility of a French-German cultural tv channel which would eventually become a European cultural channel based in Strasbourg. At the 52nd Franco-German Summit meeting, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the late French President Francois Mitterand affirm their support for the broadcast project.
May 1989 * La Sept is broadcast via the TDF 1-2 satellite.
October 1990 * Just prior to German reunification, the French republic and the 11 German Lander sign an ‘interstate treaty’ establishing the foundations of a European cultural channel.
March 1991 * ARTE Deutschland, the German unit, is founded in Baden-Baden. The two public networks, ard and zdf, each hold 50% of the capital.
April 1991 * The European cultural channel arte is founded in the form of a Consortium of European Economic Interests