Series Blog

To Stream or Not To Stream?

In the coming weeks you will notice that AMERICAN EXPERIENCE will be taking down some of our programs that are currently streaming online. Why is this? While our goal is to have as many documentaries as possible available for streaming, it is simply not feasible given our budget, which is tighter than ever this year. Third party material (footage and photographs that we did not take for the film) and talent (writers, narrators, musicians) are expensive to clear for streaming, especially for long periods of time.

Typically, new programs are available for a three-year period that begins the day after the initial broadcast date. So, for instance, The Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer, which premiered January 26, 2009 and has been streaming online since then will stop streaming this January 26, 2012. The Polio Crusade, The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln and A Class Apart will follow in the weeks thereafter. Some programs such as many of our Presidential biographies are available for streaming for longer periods, thanks to additional funding resources such as the National Endowment for the Humanities.

How do we pick which documentaries to offer online? When we reach into our rich archive of films to choose titles for re-broadcast, we assess the costs associated with streaming rights and do everything we can to make those films available online. With a library of nearly 250 programs, we have to be mindful -- we review television ratings, web traffic, and feedback from our fans. So if there is a documentary you are particularly passionate about, we encourage you to let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or the comments box below and let us know what you are itching to see.

Here are the program titles scheduled to stop streaming in Winter-Spring 2012: 

  • The Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer | January 26, 2012 | Watch online
  • The Polio Crusade | February 2, 2012 | Watch online
  • The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln | February 9, 2012 | Watch online
  • A Class Apart - English | February 23, 2012 | Watch online
  • A Class Apart - Spanish | February 23, 2012 | Watch online
  • We Shall Remain: After the Mayflower | April 13, 2012 | Watch online
  • We Shall Remain: Tecumseh's Vision | April 20, 2012 | Watch online
  • We Shall Remain: Trail of Tears | April 27, 2012 | Watch online
  • We Shall Remain: Geronimo | May 4, 2012 | Watch online
  • We Shall Remain: Wounded Knee | May 11, 2012 | Watch online
  • The Kennedys | May 18, 2012 | Watch online


You will still be able to explore the rich content on our programs' websites, and you can go to to order DVDs of your favorite AMERICAN EXPERIENCE programs.

As for this season, we are pleased to tell you that all the new and repeating films on our broadcast schedule will be available online.


Susie Mottau is the Coordinating Producer for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.

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