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Published on June 20th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson


PBS and affiliates to formulate future streaming strategy

America’s Public Broadcast Service is working with its affiliate stations to create a future strategy to stream national and local content over paid streaming services in a ‘skinny bundle’ for younger viewers, a PBS director has revealed.

Current reports PBS’ chief digital officer Ira Rubenstein as saying PBS “should be” on the various paid streaming services like DirecTV Now, Fubo TV, Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, or PlayStation Vue.

“It’s important for us to be up with the other networks so that we are not forgotten. The question becomes, how do we do it?”

Rubenstein wants a bundle deal that includes local station streams, Current reports. “Some don’t want to have to carry local station feeds,” he said. “All they want is the national PBS feed. Obviously, that doesn’t work for us.”

Rubenstein said he hopes a plan will be in place within the next six months. PBS is concerned that if they wait their content may not be wanted by live TV streaming services. 

The first approach would be to offer streaming services the existing 24/7 PBS Kids channel, an internal document obtained by Current details. From there, a concept could be a phased rollout, with each member station launching a live stream when ready; a National Program Service feed with station branding, replaced with local channels as stations come online; or creation of a totally new channel to stream.

PBS said they have assembled a station advisory group to help create a plan to move forward that includes Georgia Public Broadcasting; Lakeland PBS, Bemidji, Minn.; Idaho Public TV; KUED, Salt Lake City, Utah; KQED, San Francisco, WGBH, Boston; and WNET, New York City.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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