PBS Is the Last Major Cord Cutting Hold Out, But That May Be about to Change

PBS is one of the last major holds outs when it comes to live TV streaming. It is difficult to find PBS on any of the major services—only a few smaller ones. Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu, DIRECTV NOW, YouTube TV, and more all do not offer PBS. That is about to change.

Earlier this year, PBS chief digital officer said that PBS is working on bringing PBS to streaming services.

“I believe, and others in the system believe, that we should be there,” said PBS’s Chief Digital Officer Ira Rubenstein. “It’s important for us to be up with the other networks so that we are not forgotten. The question becomes, how do we do it?”

Rubenstein says there are a few holdups in their talks with live TV streaming services. “Some don’t want to have to carry local station feeds,” he said. “All they want is the national PBS feed. Obviously, that doesn’t work for us.”

Right now, PBS says they have assembled a station advisory group to help create a plan to move forward with live TV streaming deals. Georgia Public Broadcasting; Lakeland PBS, Bemidji, Minn.; Idaho Public TV; KUED, Salt Lake City, Utah; KQED, San Francisco, WGBH, Boston; and WNET, New York City have all teamed up to help move PBS into the age of cord cutting.

Rubenstein says he hopes to strike a deal this year. PBS is concerned that if they wait, their content may not be wanted by live TV streaming services like Sling TV, Hulu, or PlayStation Vue.

Hopefully, PBS will soon have a deal with many streaming services but don’t look for that to happen overnight. Once they come to an agreement with a streaming service it will still take a few months for PBS to go live. Hopefully, by the end of 2019 we will have PBS streaming with major live TV streaming services.

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