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NEW RESEARCH CONFIRMS PBS THE MOST TRUSTED AND UNBIASED SOURCE FOR NEWS AHEAD OF FOX NEWS CHANNEL, CNN AND OTHER COMMERCIAL NETWORKS

-- Most Educational Media Brand for Children --

-- Most Trusted Public Institution --

ARLINGTON, VA, FEBRUARY 18, 2010 – The American people have named PBS the most trusted and unbiased institution among nationally known organizations, the most trusted source of news and public affairs1 among broadcast and cable sources,1 and  the most educational media brand for children ages 2-82 according to new national polls.

The research was conducted in December 2009 and January 2010 by the non-partisan, international research company GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media. 

View the results of the PBS Poll here and of the PBS KIDS Poll here.

“In a media world where profits drive decisions, public media stands alone in its singular focus on the American public and not the bottom line. PBS does more to serve the needs of our modern democracy with trusted, independent journalism and does more to help children succeed than any other media enterprise. Today’s citizens — whether they watch on-air, online, on mobile devices or in the classroom — understand this fundamental difference that distinguishes PBS,” said Paula Kerger, PBS President and CEO.  

This is the seventh consecutive year the public has named PBS the nation’s most-trusted institution. In the 2010 poll, 45 percent of respondents said they trust PBS more than any other nationally known organization. PBS ranked at the top in public trust among every age group, ethnicity, income and education level measured. Second in trust are “courts of law,” which are trusted a great deal by 26 percent.1 PBS ranks highest in importance among 58 percent of respondents when compared to commercial broadcast (43 percent respondents) and cable television (40 percent).1

Additional highlights of the two national surveys include:
 
#1 for News and Public Affairs

  • PBS remains the network with the most trusted news and public affairs programs, with 40 percent trusting its programs a “great deal.” Fox News Channel was second with 29 percent and CNN was third at 27 percent.1
  • In an effort to measure bias, the survey concluded that 40 percent of Americans rated the news coverage, investigations and discussions of major issues on PBS programs as “mostly fair” (when asked to choose among “liberal,” “mostly fair” and “conservative”).  NBC and ABC tied for second by 33 percent of the respondents, CNN (31 percent), NPR (29 percent), Fox News Channel (25 percent) and MSNBC (24 percent).1
  • More than 75 percent of the public believes PBS addresses key news, public affairs and social issues “very/moderately” well, including providing access to arts and culture (88 percent); promoting understanding of science and technology (82 percent); providing access to a variety of viewpoints (78 percent); informing people about health issues (77 percent); and informing people about important political and social issues (76 percent).1  

#1 in Children’s Media

  • PBS KIDS earned the #1 ranking as the most educational media brand for children, receiving 21 percent of the top ratings from respondents. National Geographic Kids was second with 13 percent of respondents and Nick Jr. received five percent.2
  • PBS KIDS remains the most essential source of children’s programming, with 67 percent  of respondents stating that PBS’ children’s service is “very important,” compared to 49 percent for cable and 44 percent of commercial broadcast television.1   Eighty-nine percent of respondents believe it is “very important” for PBS to provide children’s programming. 2

Excellent Tax Dollar Value

  • About 80 percent of respondents, across all age groups, ethnicity, income and education level measured, believe funding for PBS is money “well spent.” Respondents also found PBS an “excellent” use of tax dollars, second only to military defense and ahead of public schools.1
  • A near majority of Americans believe the federal funding PBS receives is insufficient. When informed that public broadcasting receives 15 percent of its funding from the government, and that this amount translates to about one dollar per person per year of government support, 46 percent believe this amount is “too little,” 39 percent say it’s “about right” and only 11 percent state that it’s “too much.”1

PBS annually commissions this research to measure the organization’s 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.

Survey Methodology

1 The survey included 1,002 participants, ages 25 or older, across the country and was conducted January 4-18, 2010.  

2 The findings are based on a survey among 1,006 American adults 18 or older between December 11-13, 2009. 

About PBS

PBS, with its nearly 360 member stations, offers all Americans — from every walk of life — the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches more than 110 million people through their local stations and nearly 19 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and Web site, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing children’s curiosity and love of learning. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

About GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media

GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media is a division of GfK Custom Research North American specializing in customized public opinion polling, media and communication research and corporate reputation measurement — in the U.S. and globally.  In addition to delivering a broad range of customized research studies, GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media draws from GfK’s syndicated consumer tracking services, attitudes and behaviors in the U.S. and more than 25 other countries. Headquartered in New York, GfK Custom Research North America is part of the GfK Group. With home offices in Nuremberg, Germany, the GfK Group is the No. 4 market research organization worldwide. Its activities cover three business sectors:  Custom Research, Retail and Technology, and Media. The Group has more than 115 companies covering 100 countries. For further information, visit www.gfk.com

CONTACTS:

Jan McNamara, PBS, jmcnamara@pbs.org, 703-739-5028

Jim Timony, GfK Media & Communications. jim.timony@gfk.com, 609-683-6119



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