For 17th Consecutive Year, Americans Name PBS and Member Stations as Most Trusted Institution
ARLINGTON, VA; Feb. 10, 2020– As PBS celebrates its 50th anniversary, it has once again been named America’s most trusted institution in a nationwide survey. For the 17th consecutive year, Americans find PBS as more trustworthy than government institutions and media sources such as digital platforms, commercial broadcast and cable television, newspapers, and social media.
The survey results highlight PBS’s impact and value, with 73% of respondents feeling that local PBS stations provide excellent value to communities. When asked about value for tax dollars, PBS ranks only behind our nation’s military defense, with 67% finding PBS and member stations to be an excellent value for tax dollars.
According to survey respondents, PBS is also the most trusted source of news, with 73% of those polled trusting PBS’s public affairs programs over that of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. In a news climate overcome by misinformation, the survey finds that PBS has the highest level of increased trust among viewers.
Families continue to place their trust in public television. Nearly 75% of respondents named PBS KIDS the most educational media brand for children. Furthermore, 76% agree that PBS KIDS helps prepare children for success in school, and 81% find PBS KIDS to be the most trusted and safe source for children to watch television and play digital games and mobile apps.
“Throughout our 50-year history, PBS has worked in close partnership with our member stations to earn the trust of the American public,” said Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS. “Year after year, people turn to public television for high-quality programming that educates and inspires, and parents turn to PBS KIDS for educational media that prepares their children for future success. We’re excited to build on that legacy as we begin our next 50 years.”
PBS outscores others in trust and value.
For the 17th year, Americans rank 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. Eighty percent of respondents said they trust PBS “a great deal” or “somewhat” compared with lower-ranking perceptions of other institutions.
Americans rate PBS highly in terms of value for tax dollars. PBS again ranked second in terms of taxpayer value, with 67% of respondents calling it a “good” or “excellent” value, behind only the country’s military defense (76%). PBS rated higher on this measure than other taxpayer-funded benefits such as oversight of food and drug safety (61%); Social Security (57%); and environmental protection (45%).
Seventy-three 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.
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.
PBS KIDS was ranked the #1 educational media brand for children, compared with a host of other children’s media providers.
67% 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 7%, followed by Nickelodeon (6%).
83% of parents agreed that PBS KIDS helps prepare children for success in school, ahead of Disney Jr. (65%), Nick Jr. (65%), and Universal Kids (66%).
81% of parents agreed that PBS KIDS is the most trusted and safe source for children to watch television and play digital games and mobile apps. The brand outranked other choices such as Disney + (77%), Disney Channel (71%) and Nick Jr. (73%).
To learn more about how PBS and local member stations are trusted, valued and essential to communities across the country, visit pbs.org/value.
This survey was developed by PBS and conducted online within the United States by Marketing & Research Resources, Inc. (M&RR) fielded 17 questions during the window of January 6-10, 2020. The survey was conducted among a sample of 1,000 adults ages 18+, 483 men and 517 women. The results are weighted to be nationally representative of the U.S. adult population.
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 126 million people through television and 26 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. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.
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Eleanor May, PBS