Overview

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America's Largest Classroom, the Nation's Largest Stage,
a Trusted Window to the World

Every day, PBS and its more than 330 member stations fulfill our essential mission to the American public, providing trusted programming that is uniquely different from commercial broadcasting and treating audiences as citizens, not simply consumers. For 16 consecutive years, a national study has rated PBS as the most-trusted institution in America.

Strong Reach Across America

Footprint

Public television is a near-universal media service, available commercial-free to anyone with an antenna or internet connection.

  • Over the course of a year, 83% of all U.S. television households – over 215 million people – watch PBS via traditional television. PBS reaches 89% of non-internet homes, 82% of lower-income homes, and 78% of rural homes. The demographic breakdown of PBS's full-day audience reflects the overall U.S. population with respect to race, ethnicity, education, income, and geography. (Nielsen NPOWER, 9/24/2018 - 9/22/2019, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, 50% unif., 1+min., lower income=HH w/Inc <$25K, rural= Cty Sz C&D. All PBS Stations)
  • Each month, over 109 million people watch their local PBS stations, more than 28 million viewers watch video on PBS’s site and apps, and over 19 million fans enjoy PBS Digital Studios content on YouTube. (TV - Nielsen NPOWER, 10/1/2018-9/29/2018, L+7 TP reach, average monthly schedule, M-Su 6A-6A, 1‐min qualifier, standard monthly unification, All PBS Stations; Owned Streaming – Google Analytics, Oct 2018-Sep 2019 average monthly users summed across PBS and PBS Kids digital platforms, not deduplicated; YouTube Digital Studios – YouTube Analytics, PBS Digital Studios CMS, Oct 2018-Sep 2019, average monthly sum of users across channels, not deduplicated)
  • PBS closed the 2018-19 season as the 7th most-watched television network in primetime. PBS's primetime viewership is significantly larger than most commercial networks, including Discovery Channel (the PBS audience is +70% larger), History (+54%), USA (+44%), and HGTV (+38%). (Nielsen NPOWER, 9/24/2018-9/22/2019, P2+ AA (000), M-Su 8p-11p time period data, All PBS Stations)
  • Each month, Americans watch an average of 298 million videos across all of PBS’s web, mobile and connected device platforms. (Google Analytics, Oct 2018 – Sep 2019)
  • PBS-managed social media accounts claim a combined 2.3 million Twitter followers, 6.3 million Facebook followers, and 21.4 million YouTube subscribers. (Twitter Analytics, Facebook Creator Studio, YouTube Analytics as of Oct 2019.  Includes direct-to-PBS Facebook program pages, PBS Digital Studios, and Value PBS.  Followers are not deduplicated)
  • PBS Digital Studios produces original content exclusively for digital platforms. PBS Digital Studios averages more than 48 million views per month on YouTube, a year-over-year increase of 12%. (YouTube Analytics, Oct 2018 – Sep 2019)

Children's Programming

  • Over the course of a year, 66% of all kids age 2-8 – or 18 million children – watch PBS. (Source: Nielsen NPOWER, 9/24/2018 - 9/22/2019, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, All PBS Stations, 50% unif., 1+min.)
  • PBS stations reach more children, and more moms of young children, than any of the children’s TV networks. (Source: Nielsen NPOWER, 9/24/2018 - 9/22/2019, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, 50% unif., 1+min., K2-11, LOH18-49w/C<6. All PBS Stations, children’s cable TV networks)

  • PBS stations reach more children, and more moms of young children, in low-income homes than any children’s TV network. (Source: Nielsen NPOWER, 9/24/2018 - 9/22/2019, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, 50% unif., 1+min., K2-11 in HH w/Inc <$25K, LOH18-49 in HH w/Inc<25K, PBS stations, children’s cable networks.)

  • PBS stations reach more Hispanic, African-American, Asian American, and Native American pre-school aged children than any of the children’s TV networks. (Source: Nielsen NPOWER, 9/24/2018 - 9/22/2019, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, K2-5, 50% unif., 1+min., K2-5 Hispanic, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, American/Alaskan Native. All PBS Stations, children’s cable TV networks.)

  • Thanks to stations’ enthusiastic adoption of the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel, children’s engagement with PBS content has grown dramatically. Kids from under-served homes are benefitting the most. Since the launch of the 24/7 channel, children’s time spent viewing PBS has improved by 45% in low-income families, 48% in broadcast homes, and 79% in rural homes. On digital platforms, children who watch the PBS KIDS 24/7 live stream are, on average, 36% more engaged than other viewers on PBS KIDS streaming platforms. (Source: TV – Nielsen NPOWER L+7, 12/31/18-1/27/19, 1/2/17-1/29/17, M-Su 6AM-6AM Time Pd R&F, Avg Mins Viewed, All PBS stations, K2-8, HH Inc <$25K, Bcast Only, C&D Counties. Digital – Google Analytics Oct ‘18 - Sep ‘19)

  • PBS KIDS averages 11.1 million monthly users and 286 million monthly streams across digital platforms. (Source: Google Analytics Oct ’18 – Sep ’19)

  • There have been 71.4 million PBS KIDS apps downloaded to date.  (Source: AppFigures Mar ’11 – Sep ’19)

 

Trusted Brand, Measurable Impact

Public Perception

At a time when public trust in national institutions is eroding, confidence in PBS and local stations remains strong.

  • For the 16th year, Americans ranked PBS and its member stations the most-trusted institution among a consideration set that includes courts of law, commercial cable and broadcast television, newspapers, digital platforms and others. (Marketing & Research Resources, Inc., (M&RR) 1/2019)

  • Seventy-one percent agree that PBS stations provide an excellent value to communities. When asked if the funding for public broadcasting was adequate, nearly 90% said funding was either about right or too little. (Marketing & Research Resources, Inc., (M&RR) 1/2019)

  • When asked which networks they trust most when it comes to news and public affairs programming, respondents ranked PBS #1, ahead of the major broadcast and cable news networks. (Marketing & Research Resources, Inc., (M&RR) 1/2019)

  • 66% of parents surveyed named PBS KIDS the most educational media brand, substantially outscoring the second-most highly rated kids brand, Disney Channel, which was considered most educational by 8%, followed by Universal Kids (7%). (Marketing & Research Resources, Inc., (M&RR) 1/2019)

In the Classroom

PBS is committed to bringing the power of media into the classroom – helping educators to engage students in new and different ways.

  • PBS LearningMedia, a partnership of PBS and the WGBH Educational Foundation, is an online destination that offers free access to thousands of resources from PBS stations and partners.
    • PBS LearningMedia offers educators free access to thousands of resources - videos, images, interactives, lesson plans, articles, primary sources and more.
    • More than 800 thousand unique users visit PBS LearningMedia each month during the school year. (Google Analytics, 9/1/2018-6/30/2019)

Other Highlights

  • PBS and its member stations are America's undisputed home for documentary storytelling. During the 2018-19 season, PBS offered 232 hours of new documentary content, seen by over 90 million people. (Nielsen NPOWER Live+7, 9/24/2018-9/22/2019, M-SU 8p-11p, P2+ program reach on a 1-minute qualifier at 50 percent unification; all non-fiction programming excluding news, formats, and performance)

  • PBS and member stations are helping to keep the arts alive today and for generations to come. During the 2018-19 season, PBS offered 225 hours of new arts and cultural programming, seen by 94 million people. (Nielsen NPOWER Live+7, 9/24/2018-9/22/2019, M-SU 8p-11p, P2+ program reach on a 1-minute qualifier at 50 percent unification; arts, culture, drama, and personal history genres)

 

New and Noteworthy

  • Across 8 installments, Ken Burns’ Country Music averaged a 4.4 Live+7 household rating and delivered over 6.8 million cross-platform viewers per minute, driving PBS’s most-watched week since 2017’s The Vietnam War on both linear and streaming platforms.  All told, Country Music drew more than 34.5 million unique television viewers and generated 4 million streams to date. (Nielsen NPOWER, Live+7 total U.S. program HH AA% Live+7 total U.S. 8-episode program P2+ reach on a 1-minute qualifier at 75% unification for relevant Nielsen weeks 9/9/19-10/6/19; PBS Average Minute Delivery - Nielsen Live+7 total U.S. program P2+ AA (000) & Google Analytics; Streaming – Google analytics)

 

Landscape

  • PBS’s broadcast signal is uniquely important to the 3.3 million American households that lack access to cable or the internet. (Source: Nielsen NPOWER Sep 2019 Universe Estimates, HHLD Internet Access (Post Aug 2017) = No AND Cable Status = Broadcast Only)

Special Services

  • PBS Passport is a member benefit, available through local stations, that provides extended on-demand access to current and past programs. As of October 2019, 2.2 million members have activated their Passport streaming benefit.  Usage of the service continues to grow, with monthly streams up +48% in 2018-19 compared to the prior season. (PBS MVAULT database, Dec 2015-Oct 2019; Google Analytics for streaming, Oct 2018-Sep 2019)

Icon 2019 PBS Trust Brochure (1.6 MB)  

View and download the PBS KIDS infographic


November 2019