America's Largest Classroom, the Nation's Largest Stage
and a Trusted Window to the World
Every day, PBS and 350 member stations fulfill our essential mission to the American public, providing trusted programming that is uniquely different from commercial broadcasting, treating its audience as citizens, not simply consumers. In fact, PBS has been rated as the most trustworthy institution among nationally known organizations for 15 consecutive years.
PBS invites everyone to explore new ideas and broaden personal horizons -- with content that expands the minds of children, programs that ensure the worlds of music, theater, dance and art remain available to all Americans, documentaries that open up new worlds, and non-commercialized news programs that provide citizens with multiple perspectives on world events and cultures.
PBS is a private, nonprofit corporation, founded in 1969, whose members are America’s public TV stations -- noncommercial, educational licensees that operate 350 PBS member stations and serve all 50 states, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. Of the 158 licensees, 83 are community organizations, 52 are colleges/universities, 19 are state authorities and four are local educational or municipal authorities.
Strong On-Air Reach Across America
- Over the course of a year, 80% of all U.S. television households - nearly 200 million people - watch PBS. The demographic breakdown of PBS' full-day audience reflects the overall U.S. population with respect to race/ethnicity, education and income. (Nielsen NPower, 9/19/2016-9/24/2017)
- Each month, over 90 million people watch their local PBS stations. (Nielsen NPower, 10/2016-9/2017)
- PBS averaged a 1.41 primetime household rating during the 2016-17 season, ranking it the #6 broadcast and cable network. (Nielsen NPower, 9/19/2016-9/24/2017)
- PBS' primetime household audience is significantly larger than many commercial channels, including A&E (the PBS audience is 135% larger), Bravo (126%), TLC (122%), Discovery Channel (70%) and HGTV (39%). (Nielsen NPower, 9/19/2016-9/24/2017)
- 64% of all kids age two to eight - 18 million children - watched PBS during the 2016-17 season. (Nielsen NPower, 9/19/2016-9/24/2017, All PBS Stations, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, 50% unif., 6+min.)
- PBS stations reach more moms with young children, and more Hispanic moms with young children, than any other kids TV network. (Nielsen NPower, 9/19/16-9/24/17, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, 50% unif., 6+min., LOH18-49w/C<6, Hispanic Origin. All PBS Stations, DSNY, NICK, DSNYJr, NICKJr., SPRT, TOON & DISCFam)
- PBS stations reach more chilren 2-8 in low-income homes, and more moms of young children in low-income homes, than any other kids TV network. (Nielsen NPower, 9/19/16-9/24/17, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, 50% unif., 6+min., LOH18-49w/C<6, HH w/Inc<$25K. All PBS Stations, DSNY, NICK, DSNYJr, NICKJr., SPRT, TOON & DISCFam)
- PBS and stations provide the only free national 24/7 children’s TV channel and livestream, featuring more than 20 shows proven to improve kids’ learning. The service is available to more than 95% of U.S. TV households, reaching many children who may not attend preschool.
- A national study of parents with children ages 2-6 found TV viewing is one of the top ways that families spend time together, with 89% of parents reporting they watch TV together as a family, 74% in favor of anytime access to educational programming and 37% ranking PBS KIDS as the best use of family screen time. (Maru/Matchbox, 2016)
Helping to Close the Achievement Gap
A national study found that parents of children 18 and under consider PBS KDS the most educational media brand, significantly outscoring cable and commercial broadcast television networks. (Marketing & Research Resources, Inc. (M&RR), 1/2018)
In a recent survey, PBS KIDS ranked first in school readiness among children’s TV networks. When asked how well networks prepare children for school, 81% of parents said PBS KIDS helps a lot/somewhat, topping the next closest network by 11%. Parents also credited PBS KIDS for more positive behavior exhibited by children after watching. PBS KIDS stands out as the most trusted and safe place for children to watch television and the best use of families’ screen time, according to the study. (Maru/Matchbox, 2016)
A recent study showed that PBS KIDS resources can help close the math achievement gap for children from low-income families and better prepare them for Kindergarten. The study also showed an increase in parents’ engagement in their kids’ learning. Parents’ awareness of their children’s mathematics learning increased, as did their use of activities and strategies to support their children’s learning. Parents were also motivated to set aside time each day to do math activities with their children. (Engaging Families in Early Mathematics Learning: A Study of a Preschool Family Engagement Model. WestEd, 2014)
PBS LearningMedia, a partnership of PBS and WGBH Educational Foundation, is a media-on-demand service offering educators access to the best of public media and research-based, classroom-ready digital learning experiences to engage students around standards-aligned curriculum concepts.
Teachers have access to more than 100,000 curriculum-aligned digital resources from over 200 trusted media partners.
A 2015 study found that when PBS LearningMedia resources were integrated into existing curriculum:
Across subject areas, student performance on content assessments showed significant improvement, increasing by eight percentage points;
On average, students outperformed national assessment norms by 10 percentage points;
Teachers who participated in the study overwhelmingly stated that they would recommend the use of PBS LearningMedia resources to their colleagues. (PBS LearningMedia Impact Study, conducted by Education Development Center’s Center for Children and Technology)
Innovation and Growth on Digital Platforms
- Each month, Americans watch over 260 million videos across all of PBS' web, mobile and connected device platforms. (Google Analytics, 1/2017-12/2017)
- On average, PBS has nearly 26 million unique visitors to its sites each month - an average of 15.3 million to pbs.org and 7.3 million to pbskids.org. (Google Analytics, 1/2017-12/2017)
- Throughout 2017, more minutes were spent viewing video on pbskids.org than on any other site in the kids category. On average, pbskids.org accounted for 31% of all time spent watching kids video online. (Google Analytics, 1/2017-11/2017)
- In total, PBS' general audience and kids mobile apps have been downloaded 58 million times. (AppFigures)
Highly Valued by the American Public
PBS annually commissions research to measure its performance and value as judged by its most important stakeholder — the American public. With local independent stations rooted in communities across the country, public media is unrivalled in its commitment to optimize the power and potential of media to strengthen our democracy, build stronger communities and improve lives.
A recent national survey confirms that PBS and its member stations are rated #1 in public trust among nationally known institutions. In addition, the same survey found that parents rank PBS KIDS as the #1 educational media brand for children, significantly outscoring cable and commercial broadcast television networks.