At the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, PBS announced that they have reached a carriage deal with YouTube TV. This is the first deal with a Live TV Streaming Service for PBS, which has been one of the last major holdouts from live streaming. The deal will not see all member stations come on immediately, but new local member stations will become available on YouTube TV as they choose to participate.
“We’re excited to launch our very first local livestream on YouTube TV,” said PBS Chief Digital and Marketing Officer Ira Rubenstein. “Our goal is to reach as many Americans as possible with content that educates, inspires and entertains. As a broadcaster that is rooted in communities, we appreciate YouTube’s commitment to local content, and we are pleased that this service provides audiences with access to programming that is produced and distributed by our member stations.”
Last year, PBS shared the holdup is that streaming services want a national feed, but Rubenstein said: “…that doesn’t work for us.” PBS was looking to be treated like a local network affiliate where member channels can also show their local content. By coming to a deal for all member stations, they can now freely choose whether they want to join the service.
“We’re thrilled to partner with PBS to introduce both the PBS and PBS KIDS channels to YouTube TV,” said Lori Conkling, Global Head of Partnerships at YouTube. “Audiences of all ages love and trust PBS, and today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to delivering the best possible lineup for our subscribers.”
In March, Rubenstein said streaming services “don’t want to deal with only 10 markets; they want top 50 markets.” He said he hoped to announce deals by the end of the year — so it is likely that the channel will come to more than just YouTube TV.
For those with other services, PBS does offer a on demand service called PBS Passport. For $60/year you get access to episodes from PBS programs like American Experience, American Masters, Antiques Roadshow, Nature, NOVA, and Masterpiece — including all six seasons of Downton Abbey.
In March, PBS launched a service called PBS Living which includes both classic and newer PBS series focused on food, cooking, culture, and home. The service, which costs $2.99 after a 7-Day Free Trial, includes shows like The French Chef, This Old House, Antiques Roadshow, as well as No Passport Required and Milk Street.
PBS Living joined the company’s two other streaming services on Amazon Channels, PBS Masterpiece and PBS Kids. For $5.99 / month, PBS Masterpiece includes miniseries like Great Expectations, The Windsors, a documentary on four generations of The Royal Family — and Jamestown, a series about a group of women in the 17th century Virginia settlement.
PBS Kids includes hit kids shows like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Wild Kratts, Pinkalicious & Peterrific, as well as classics like Reading Rainbow and Mister Rogers. The service is available for $4.99 a month after a 7-Day Free Trial.