Today's PBS - America's Largest Classroom, the Nation's Largest Stage
and a Trusted Window to the World
Every day, PBS and more than 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 ten 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 354 PBS member stations and serve all 50 states, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. Of the 162 licensees, 85 are community organizations, 52 are colleges/universities, 20 are state authorities and five are local educational or municipal authorities.
Strong On-Air Reach Across America
- Over the course of a year, nearly 90% of all U.S. television households - and 220 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, 9/19/2011-9/23/2012)
- In a typical month, 120 million people watch their local PBS stations. (Nielsen NPower, 10/1/2012-11/1/2012)
- PBS averaged a 1.34 primetime rating during the 2011-2012 season, an increase of 1% over the previous season. (Nielsen NPower, 9/20/2010-9/18/2011 vs. 9/19/2011-9/23/2012)
- PBS' primetime audience is significantly larger than many commercial channels, including Bravo (PBS' audience is 92% larger), TLC (86%), Discovery Channel (69%), HGTV (63%), HBO (61%) and A&E (29%). In addition, PBS' primetime rating for news and public affairs programming is 88% higher than that of CNN. (Nielsen NPower, 9/19/2011-9/23/2012)
- 82% of all kids age two to eight watched PBS during the 2011-2012 season. (Nielsen NPower, 9/19/2011-9/23/2012)
- PBS had six of the top 10 programs among mothers of young children in April 2013, and two of the top 10 programs for kids age two to five. (Nielsen NPower, 4/2013)
Innovation and Growth on Digital Platforms
- Americans watched more than 223 million videos across all of PBS' web and mobile platforms in April 2013; more than two-thirds (67%) of these streams were delivered on a mobile platform. (Google Analytics, 4/2013)
- Combined, PBS had more than 30 million unique visitors to its sites in April. (Google Analytics, 4/2013)
- The majority of PBS.org's online video viewers are between the ages of 18 to 49, and spend an average of 23.3 minutes per video, far above the industry average of 5.6 minutes. (comScore Video Metrix, 4/2013)
- In April, PBSKIDS.org was the No. 1 kids site for total videos viewed for the 16th consecutive month. (comScore Video Metrix, 4/2013)
- In total, PBS' general audience and kids mobile apps have been downloaded more than 8.4 million times. (AppFigures)
- More than 147 million videos were streamed on the PBS KIDS Video for iPhone/iPad app in April. (Google Analytics, 4/2013)
Helping to Close the Achievement Gap
- PBS is the No. 1 source of media content for preschool teachers. (Grunwald Study, 2009 Media and Technology Use and Trends Among K-12 & Pre-K Teachers)
- In 2011, PBS, together with WGBH and local member stations, launched PBS LearningMedia, a free service for educators which features a robust library of digital assets, including videos, games and lesson plans, that align with National and Common Core State Standards.
- PreK-12 educators can access more than 30,000 curriculum-aligned digital resources from over 130 trusted media partners that bring learning to life for students.
- Nearly a third of all teachers (more than 875,000) have registered access to PBS LearningMedia.
- PBS offers more than 50 interactive whiteboard games for educators to use in the classroom.
- PBS Parents (pbsparents.org) provides the tools and resources for parents to be their children’s best first teacher.
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.
Recent national studies confirm that PBS is (visit this link for source and full details):
- #1 in public trust
- An "excellent" use of tax dollars
- The most fair network for news and public affairs
- The #1 educational TV/media brand, for PBS KIDS
- The safest on-air and online destination, for PBS KIDS
Four Decades of Innovation from PBS
2011 PBS LearningMedia launches as a next generation digital education service, delivering unprecedented access to a robust, world-class library and available free to all preK-16 classrooms.
2010 PBS initiatives support the growth of public media on digital platforms – from auto-localization of pbs.org to APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that facilitate digital distribution of content.
2009 PBS video players launch on pbs.org, offering hundreds of full-length programs free of charge for general audiences, preschoolers and older children.
2008 PBS is the first television broadcast system to implement file-based digital content distribution, improving efficiency and quality.
2002 PBS.org becomes the most trafficked dot-org website in the world.
1998 PBS becomes the first national broadcaster to distribute HD programming to member stations for broadcast.
1996 PBS inaugurates the first all-digital TV broadcast facility in the U.S.
1995 PBS becomes one of the first major broadcasters to launch a website.
1990 PBS launches Descriptive Video Service for blind and visually impaired viewers.
1975 Public television station WTTW in Chicago, in the PBS series Soundstage, becomes one of the first stations to use stereo television.
1975 PBS launches the first satellite interconnection system.
1972 PBS pioneers closed captioning for hearing-impaired viewers.