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PBS Programming & History

HistoryFounded in 1969
Total Viewers (2016)(unknown)
Top SeriesMasterpiece

Although PBS does not have as large of a viewer base as the Big Four television networks, it still has a significant group of dedicated viewers who are fans of the network's innovative and educational programs. PBS has always attracted a large number of young viewers with programming, such as: Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Today, other popular children's programs include: Curious George and Max and Ruby. To appeal to this younger demographic and to fulfill its educational mission, PBS has a website dedicated to young children - PBS Kids - with original content and numerous games and activities. For more details, visit the PBS Kids site at: www.pbskids.org

In focusing on its youngest viewers, however, PBS actively works to make sure that it is giving its more mature viewers what they are looking for. Like with its counterpart networks, PBS recognizes that the viewing patterns and preferences for many individuals has changed dramatically. People are no longer tied to simply accessing programming from their cable television providers. More and more people are cutting the proverbial cable cord and are instead transitioning to streaming devices, like Roku Channel and Amazon Fire. Yet, they still want to be able to view their favorite PBS programs, like the recent critically acclaimed miniseries by Ken Burns, The Vietnam War, Poldark, and The Great British Baking Show, at times that are convenient in their schedule. And this list of programs represents only the tip of the iceberg - there are hundreds of other popular and critically acclaimed programs that air or have aired on PBS.

Streaming PBS Online

To tap into this demand for additional viewing options, PBS has moved forward with making its programming available on demand. However, unlike the majority of its peers, it has not put a huge emphasis on buulding an app that can be utilized in conjunction with another streaming device. Instead, it has placed a large number of its programs on the PBS website. From the website, viewers can select the program and the episode that they want to see-and then view these options whenever it is convenient for them.

There are benefits and drawbacks to this approach. On the positive side, PBS viewers tend to be significantly older than the demographics seen at many of the other networks. As a result, these viewers may be less likely to have streaming devices or the technological ability or know-how to download apps (even if these apps are relatively user friendly). This option of clicking on a video to view may be the most accessible option for these television viewers. On the downside, the page with video content is relatively crowded and it is hard to navigate it and get to the shows that you want to watch... Also, even though there are hundreds of videos on the PBS website, there is still less content than one may find on one of the Big Four networks' apps, which may be a significant negative for some television junkies.

It should be noted that in addition to the content that is available free-of-charge on the website, additional content can be purchased via: Vudu, iTunes, Roku, Amazon, and GooglePlay.