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TV Online: Bert and Ernie Next?

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All the networks now have a presence either in television streaming or downloads. But the Public Broadcasting Company is easy to forget, even though it probably was your favorite channel for years. I know I spent a good part of childhood watching Sesame Street and old Doctor Who, so I was happy to hear that PBS is considering joining the internet television market. This is being spurred on by PBS’s new CEO Paula Kerger. She wants PBS to have a presence in every available platform. Kerger is pushing for some manner of download or streams, saying that several of the PBS stations that make their own programs have already begun offering these for free online.

Charlie Rose is already selling his shows on Google for $0.99.

She [Kerger] also pointed to PBS’s archive of educational shows like Nature, Frontline and other documentaries as a possible resource that could be accessed “anytime, anywhere.”

“So I think we probably will look at partnerships,” she told reporters after the speech. She said initial discussions were under way with possible corporate partners, but PBS was trying to figure out the right direction.

“I think we will not do a full flung leap into any one area. I think we’ll start to experiment and I think we’ll experiment along the product that seems to make the most sense,” she said.
Source: Reuters

There is a great deal of potential for PBS programs online. There are some fears that this could negatively affect PBS, just as some people feel podcasts have affected NPR (National Public Radio).

There are some claims that podcasts have decreased the amount of donations that many NPR stations receive. The same fear holds true for PBS programs online, but I think that the PBS catalogue is strong enough to offer older content that people would watch, perhaps even purchase. This month, with ABC’s ad-based free offer and FOX making its deal, has really proven that internet TV has a lot of potential and nobody wants to miss the opportunity. (I’m talking to you, HBO.) I think PBS can make it work and maybe generate some needed income.

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