Last year PBS announced efforts to launch on live TV streaming services like Hulu and YouTube TV. They carefully warned though that well PBS owns the rights to many of the syndicated shows the local content is owned by 350 some member stations that PBS as a parent company does not own or control. This meant that PBS had to work with their partner stations before they could launch on services like Hulu, DIRECTV NOW, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, and more. Now it sounds like PBS is making progress with their local member stations.
Now the CEO of PBS confirmed that they are in talks with these services. “We’ve been in discussions with them,” CEO Paula Kerger said during PBS’s Winter TCA executive session. “I’m not making any announcements today. But stay tuned. We definitely are in discussions. We think that’s certainly a place that our viewers would appreciate.”
Kreger went on to say they are also looking at options to team up with services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon. “I think that part of the challenge that we have is making sure that we’re punching through the fray so that people are aware of the programs that are on public television, that are available through their local stations,” said Kerger. “I mean there are a lot of people that go to the Netflixes and then just get lost in the jukebox effect of scrolling through lots of stuff…We look for ways to bring them into their local station.”
According to PBS one of the main issues was live TV streaming services asking for a national feed of PBS vs. taking each local feed. PBS made it clear they are only interested in offering local feeds for PBS in an effort to help protect their 350 member stations. So well WGBH is launching this year we are unsure how many will be going live in 2019 as smaller PBS stations will likely take longer to go live.
Sadly we do not know which services will be first to go live. PBS has made it clear they want to be on as many services as possible, so the only question now is who will be first. We also do not have an exact date as all that has been announced is Fall 2019 and dates can often change.
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