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PBS, WGBH, NCTA, AND CABLE POSITIVE TO MAKE FRONTLINE'S
"THE AGE OF AIDS" DOCUMENTARY AVAILABLE
ON DEMAND FOLLOWING ITS NATIONAL PBS PREMIERE
Orlando, FL (May 18, 2006) - In an unprecedented collaboration among PBS, WGBH/Boston, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and Cable Positive, FRONTLINE's documentary "The Age of AIDS" will be offered to cable multiple system operators (MSOs) to be made available through their on-demand platforms for two weeks immediately following the national broadcast debut of the program on PBS Tuesday-Wednesday, May 30-31, 2006. The announcement was made by PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger at PBS' Annual Showcase meeting in Orlando.
Cable Positive, the cable and telecommunications industry's AIDS action organization, will distribute the four-hour series to cable MSOs, which will be offered the opportunity to make the full series available free of charge through their video on-demand services. Operators also will have the chance to promote both the PBS broadcast and the series' on-demand availability through public service announcements featuring Bono, former President Bill Clinton, and pioneer AIDS researcher Dr. David Ho.
Correspondingly, PBS is encouraging its local station membership to run similar spots promoting the on-demand availability of the series to PBS viewers through local cable operators. The national on-demand version will also carry a spot encouraging viewers to become members of their local PBS station.
"This is an excellent opportunity for local PBS stations to expand the reach of an important, award-winning series," said Paula Kerger. "This also offers a new way to bring additional public television content to a growing number of on-demand users."
"This special partnership between public television and the cable industry reflects a shared mission to refocus awareness about HIV/AIDS and to raise the epidemic's profile on the public agenda," said Jon Abbott, WGBH's Executive Vice President. "The national on-demand window of 'The Age of AIDS' also provides many public television viewers with expanded, convenient access on demand to this monumental series."
"AIDS knows no boundaries, and neither should our work, nor our willingness to form unprecedented partnerships in fighting this disease," said Steve Villano, President & CEO, Cable Positive. "This project exemplifies the highest educational use of television for the public good, and we are grateful to PBS, TVN Entertainment, and our cable partners around the country for making it happen."
"Cable operators appreciate the opportunity to share in the distribution of this historic program, and we're pleased that Cable Positive has again demonstrated cable leadership in increasing HIV and AIDS awareness among all Americans," said Kyle McSlarrow, President & CEO, NCTA.
FRONTLINE's "The Age of AIDS," airing on PBS Tuesday-Wednesday, May 30-31, 2006, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET, examines one of the worst pandemics the world has ever known. After a quarter-century of political denial and social stigma, of stunning scientific breakthroughs, bitter policy battles and inadequate prevention campaigns, HIV/AIDS continues to spread rapidly throughout much of the world, particularly in developing nations. Over 25 years, roughly 70 million people have been infected with the virus and 22 million have already died of AIDS.
Why humanity has failed to stop the spread of HIV is the central question of "The Age of AIDS." Over four hours, the series examines one of the most important scientific and political stories of our time: the story of a mysterious agent that invaded the human species and exploited its frailties and compulsions - sexual desire and drug addiction, bigotry and greed, political indifference and bureaucratic inertia - to spread itself across the globe.
"The Age of AIDS" begins with the medical and scientific mystery that emerged in 1981 when five gay men in Los Angeles were diagnosed with a new disease. The film documents the frantic search by American and European scientists and epidemiologists to find the source of the deadly infection as they tracked its spread among gay men, intravenous drug users and hemophiliacs, and then into the general population. The trail led them back in time, from major American and European cities, to Haiti and finally to the Congo.
The second part of "The Age of AIDS" begins by exploring the chasm that emerged between rich and poor following the development of the miraculous "triple cocktail" HIV treatment. In the mid-1990s, when doctors discovered the cocktail, it seemed to signal a new era in which AIDS was no longer a fatal disease.
But the high price of the drugs meant they were unaffordable to patients in developing nations. "The Age of AIDS" tracks the political struggle to lower those prices in countries like Brazil, and documents the South African government's tragic failure to battle the epidemic that was overwhelming their country.
Series underwriters: Park Foundation and PBS. Additional funding for "The Age of Aids": Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Co-producers: WGBH/FRONTLINE and Paladin InVision Ltd. with Silverbridge Productions Ltd. and Channel 4. Producer/director (Part I): William Cran. Producer/director (Part II): Greg Barker. Series producer and reporter: Renata Simone. Executive producer: David Fanning.
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 a leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of other educational services. 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.
WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS's prime-time lineup, along with some of public television's best-known lifestyle shows and children's programs and many public radio favorites. WGBH is the number one producer of Web sites on pbs.org, one of the most trafficked dot-org Web sites in the world. WGBH is a pioneer in educational multimedia and in technologies and services that make media accessible to the 36 million Americans who rely on captioning or video descriptions. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards…even two Oscars. In 2002, WGBH was honored with a special institutional Peabody Award for 50 years of excellence. For more information visit www.wgbh.org.
About Cable Positive
Cable Positive mobilizes the talents, resources, access and influence of the cable and telecommunications industry to raise HIV/AIDS awareness; support HIV/AIDS education, prevention and care; and strive to end stigma by creating a more compassionate climate for people whose lives have been affected by HIV or AIDS. Founded in February 1992 by three concerned cable executives, Cable Positive has grown to include supporters from every major network, MSO, system, hardware manufacturer, trade association, media publication, and affiliated industry vendors and suppliers. For more information visit www.cablepositive.org.
NCTA is the principal trade association for the U.S. cable industry, representing cable operators serving more than 90 percent of the nation's cable television households and more than 200 cable program networks. The cable industry is the nation's largest broadband provider of high speed Internet access after investing $100 billion over ten years to build a two-way interactive network with fiber optic technology. Cable companies also provide state-of-the-art digital telephone service to millions of American consumers. For more information, visit www.ncta.com.
|Michelle Castro (Cable Positive)|| 212.459.1504
|Kevin Dando (PBS)|| 703.739.5073
|Jim Bracciale (WGBH/FRONTLINE)|| 617.300.5358
|Brian Dietz (NCTA)|| 202.775.3629