In 2004, PBS Focuses on New Platforms While Delivering on Public Service Mission
ALEXANDRIA, Va., November 22, 2004 - PBS and its 349 member stations found new ways in 2004 to fulfill their public service mission while continuing to deliver top-quality programming, online content and educational services to millions of people across the country. During this past year, PBS launched a new on-air and online destination for older children, debuted the 24-hour PBS HD Channel, and entered into an innovative partnership to create new digital cable services for preschoolers and their families. At the same time, PBS once again won more Emmy Awards for children's programming and news and documentaries than any broadcast or cable network, continued to build unprecedented traffic on pbs.org and earn the trust of parents, teachers, viewers and citizens across the nation.
"PBS is committed to continuing to set the gold standard for programming and services delivered via free over-the-air broadcast and the web," said Pat Mitchell, President and CEO. "PBS will also aggressively seek ways to reinvent public service media by utilizing new platforms that offer multiple choices for time and place of viewing."
Always a leader in children's programming, PBS launched an on-air and online destination for early elementary school-age children called PBS KIDS GO! in October 2004. While many marketers compete for the attention of older children, there is a significant lack of programming geared to this age group that is both educational and entertaining. Building on the PBS mission to serve Americans of all ages and offering the same high-quality, diverse, educational content that parents have come to trust from PBS for their preschoolers, PBS KIDS GO! introduces new stars - from MAYA & MIGUEL and POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER - that kids can learn from and grow with. PBS KIDS GO! also features current popular PBS KIDS' programs targeted towards older viewers - including ARTHUR and the math-mystery cartoon, CYBERCHASE. The block is scheduled to air from 4 - 6 p.m. on weekdays and on weekend mornings on local stations across the country. The new, resource-rich Web site, pbskidsgo.org, which hosts sites from the series alongside unique destinations that focus on topics for this age group, debuted the same day.
That same month, PBS announced a partnership with Sesame Workshop, HIT Entertainment and Comcast Corporation to create a 24-hour digital cable television channel for preschool-aged children and companion video-on-demand (VOD) service. The ground-breaking channel will bring together some of the best-known and well-respected shows in children's programming - a blend of classic and contemporary favorites - that celebrate the wonder of early childhood, inviting families to experience the joy of learning, playing and smiling together. The partnership will not change how PBS member stations broadcast their PBS KIDS programming blocks, but it will strengthen the core National Program Schedule that member stations provide free to all of America's families by giving PBS a "first look" at new series from Sesame Workshop and HIT, and by generating long-term revenue that can be invested back into PBS broadcast programming.
On March 1, 2004, the PBS HD Channel premiered, making PBS the first broadcaster to provide a fully packaged 24/7 channel consisting entirely of High Definition and Widescreen content. The PBS HD Channel will be available from local PBS stations that have transitioned to digital broadcasting, as well as through local digital cable systems that have agreed to retransmit the digital signal of their local public television station. The PBS HD Channel is currently available to more than 4 million households.
As part of its mission to inform and inspire all Americans and to provide an opportunity and forum for discussion and debate, PBS added major news series to its public affairs schedule this year. TAVIS SMILEY, TUCKER CARLSON: UNFILTERED and JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT joined some of the most respected series and journalists on television, including THE NEWSHOUR, WASHINGTON WEEK, NOW WITH BILL MOYERS, CHARLIE ROSE, WALL $TREET WEEK and TO THE CONTRARY. Other series, such as FRONTLINE, FRONTLINE/WORLD and WIDE ANGLE examine complex issues through in-depth documentaries, while INDEPENDENT LENS, P.O.V. and our many news and public affairs specials continued to offer even more opportunities to explore the world we share.
PBS continued its dominance of television's most prestigious competitions in 2004. Major honors included: 10 Daytime Emmys for children's programming, more than any other competitor for the seventh year in a row; eight News & Documentary Emmys, topping all broadcast and cable networks with the most wins for the fourth time in four years; seven primetime Emmys and a best mini-series nomination for American Family; nine George Foster Peabody Awards, surpassing other network wins for the second straight year; and four Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards silver batons, more than any other network.
PBS.org is one of the most visited dot-org Web sites in the world, and is also the home of comprehensive companion Web sites for more than 1,100 PBS television programs and specials, as well as original Web content and real-time learning adventures. During 2004, pbs.org had more than 370 million pageviews per month. In May, 2004 pbs.org won a Webby Award as the best TV site on the Web for the fourth time. With this win, PBS has garnered more Webby prizes in the TV category than any other broadcast or cable network
Together with its stations, PBS is the country's largest educational institution, serving citizens across the country and learners of all ages. PBS is the number one television and video resource for classroom programming in the country, according to a survey conducted in 2004 by Grunwald Associates. Developed in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education, PBS Ready To Learn has helped nearly one million parents and teachers prepare eight million children for success in school through local workshops, free children's books and PBS KIDS television programming, coupled with educational video spots and accompanying Web sites. Web-based resources, such as TeacherLine and TeacherSource help America's educators be even more effective. The Adult Learning Service helps men and women fit job training, GED preparation and even college courses into their busy lives through distance learning.
During 2004, many leading companies and foundations have made $1million or more in new underwriting commitments to PBS programming, including the American Legacy Foundation (AMERICAN FAMILY), Ameriquest Mortgage Company (ANTIQUES ROADSHOW), Beaches (SESAME STREET), CIT (NEWSHOUR), Coldwell Banker (FIND!), Ford (FIND!), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (GLOBAL HEALTH), Liberty Mutual (ANTIQUES ROADSHOW), New York Life (SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA), Toyota (ANTIQUES ROADSHOW and TAVIS SMILEY) and Wal-Mart (TAVIS SMILEY). Major organizations that renewed their support included Johnson & Johnson (AMERICAN FAMILY), Kellogg's (DRAGON TALES), McDonald's (SESAME STREET) and Microsoft (NOVA).
In a survey completed in 2004 by the non-partisan, international research company RoperASW, the American public called PBS the most trusted institution on a list of nationally known organizations in the country and the second best use of tax dollars, outranked only by military defense. The recent national opinion study, which included 1,000 randomly selected participants across the country, also found Americans are more satisfied with programming on PBS compared with commercial broadcasting or cable networks and consider PBS news and public affairs series the most trustworthy. The majority of people surveyed believe that public broadcasting receives "too little" funding from the federal government and that money given to PBS stations from the government, corporations and individuals is "money well spent."
PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 349 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet, averaging more than 30 million unique visits and 380 million page views per month in 2004. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.
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