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Once Again, Study Finds PBS Programming an Excellent Use of Tax Dollars

Alexandria, Va., February 13, 2006 - For the third consecutive year, a Roper Public Affairs & Media poll shows Americans consider PBS the nation's most trusted institution among nationally known organizations. The non-partisan, international research company released the comprehensive results from its national opinion survey, which was conducted to gauge the attitudes of Americans towards PBS and other major national institutions, including courts of law and commercial broadcast television networks.

According to the study's 1,000 randomly selected participants from across the country, Americans also believe PBS provides the second best use of tax dollars, following only military defense. The public ranks PBS programming the most important, compared with commercial and cable television, and considers PBS news and public affairs series the most trustworthy. These findings are consistent with the two previous nationwide studies.

"Once again, this comprehensive survey shows that Americans highly value PBS and respect it as a servant of the public trust," said Roper Senior Vice President Ed Bergstein. "It appears that with all the recent expressions of cynicism that have been directed towards much of the media, PBS has remained above the fray."

"This is the third year that Roper has conducted this annual national survey, and again the American people have said that PBS is an important national resource," said Wayne Godwin, Interim CEO of PBS. "The public's trust in the value of PBS is our greatest asset. We are grateful for their support and will continue to do all we can to earn it each and every day."

Additional survey highlights:

  • PBS remains #1 in public trust, with 48% trusting PBS a great deal. Second in trust are "courts of law," which are trusted a great deal by 28%.

  • For the third year in a row PBS ranks second in tax value among 20 federally funded services and institutions, with 18% stating it an excellent value for their tax dollars. Military defense remains #1 in this category, with 21% calling it an excellent value.

  • Americans stated that they are more satisfied with programs on PBS compared to cable and commercial broadcast. Thirty-five percent stated they were "very satisfied" with PBS programs. Cable programming received this rating from 19% of the respondents and commercial broadcasting programming, 17%.

  • The majority of Americans think it's very important to have public television (61%). Two out of five Americans think the same about commercial broadcast television (42%). Just over a third thinks it's very important that we have cable television (36%).

  • PBS remains the network with the most trusted news and public affairs programs, with 39% trusting its programs a great deal. CNN and Fox News tied for second at 26%.

  • Forty-five percent of Americans rated the news coverage, investigations and discussions of major issues on PBS programs as mostly fair. NBC and ABC tied for second at 39%.

  • The majority of Americans believe the federal funding PBS receives is "too little." When informed that public broadcasting receives 15% of its funding from the government, and that this amount translates to about one dollar per person per year of government support, 51% believe this amount is "too little," 35% say it's "about right" and only 10% state that it's "too much." The results for "too little" and "about right" have been identical for all three years.

Commissioned by PBS, Roper Public Affairs & Media independently administered the annual telephone survey to 1,000 adults between the ages of 25 to 75 years old during January 6-25, 2006. To maintain objectivity throughout the survey, the questionnaire did not identify PBS as the sponsor, and wherever PBS and other media, organizations or services were evaluated together, a questioning randomization process was employed to ensure that both PBS and its competitors in a given category were treated equally in terms of positioning for any particular question. Moreover, any questions asked about PBS only were asked at the end of the survey, after the comparison questions were completed.

About PBS

PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 348 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, PBS KIDS Online, continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

About Roper Public Affairs

Headquartered in New York, Roper Public Affairs specializes in public opinion polling, communications research, and corporate reputation measurement -- in the US and globally . Roper also offers two important syndicated services - Roper Reports and Roper Reports Worldwide - which track consumer values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors in the US and 30 other countries. Roper is part of The GfK Group. With home offices in Nuremberg, Germany, The GfK Group is among the top-five market research organizations in the world. Its activities cover five business divisions: Custom Research, Retail and Technology, Consumer Tracking, Media and Healthcare. The GfK Group has more than 130 subsidiaries and affiliates in 61 countries.


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