Dec. 21, 2009
PBS NewsHour Finds Strong Success Following December 7 Rebranding and Re-launch
Viewers, Online Visitors, and Public Media Community Share Positive Response to Revamped Program and website
(Washington, D.C.) December 21, 2009 - Following a December 7th rebranding and re-launch, the PBS NewsHour has received a solid reception across all media platforms. Growing audience numbers, online traffic, and video viewership show a strong and favorable response to the newly revamped program and website.
While national broadcast ratings are still being gathered, initial numbers from major media markets such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York indicate that viewer numbers got a lift of on average 9% from the previous week's ratings.
One of the most "transformational" elements of the re-launch was the merger of the broadcast and digital divisions into a seamless entity. During the Dec. 7 week of the program re-launch, traffic to the newly-redesigned PBS NewsHour website jumped as much as 50 percent and online video views doubled from the same time last year. Traffic to the website during the week of the re-launch was among the highest of the year, second only to the NewsHour's coverage of the Presidential Inauguration. The list of most watched videos since the re-launch includes Margaret's Warner's reports from Europe on allied response to President Obama's Afghanistan strategy, Ray Suarez's "Patchwork Nation" series on the economy's impact across the country, Jim Lehrer's journalism guidelines and President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize speech.
"The re-launch and rebranding has been a terrific success and viewers clearly like the changes we've made," said Jim Lehrer, anchor of the PBS NewsHour. "It is one thing to map out a redesign on paper, it's quite another to see it happen, and it's even better to see it succeed beyond your wildest expectations."
The number of fans following the PBS NEWSHOUR through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook has also increased since the re-launch. In particular, subscribers are flocking to the recently announced PBS NEWSHOUR YouTube channel (youtube.com/pbsnewshour) making it one of the top 100 most subscribed channels for December as of mid-month.
"PBS is delighted to see the American people embrace the reinvigorated ‘NewsHour'," said PBS President and Chief Executive Officer Paula A. Kerger. "After more than three decades, the public knows that while the ‘NewsHour' name may change from time to time, the core journalistic values that drive the program do not. The ‘PBS NewsHour' continues to offer the reporting, context, and analysis needed to make informed decisions about their lives. My colleagues and I applaud Jim Lehrer and his team on their continued success."
PBS NEWSHOUR is seen five nights a week on more than 315 PBS stations across the country and is also available online, via public radio in select markets and via podcast. The program is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, in association with WETA Washington, DC, and THIRTEEN in New York. Major corporate funding for The NewsHour is provided by Chevron, Bank of America and Intel, with additional support from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.
Contact: Anne Bell 703-998-2175.