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After YouTube TV Deal, PBS Continues Talks With Other Live TV Streaming Services

Jason Gurwin

Late last year, YouTube TV became the first Live TV Streaming Service to bring PBS to streaming customers. At the time The Streamable confirmed with PBS that they were in active discussions with other streaming services. Today, at the their TCA presentation, PBS CEO Paula Kerger confirmed that talks are on-going, but there are no new deals quite yet.

With the start of 2020, it seems this is the prime opportunity for PBS to find room in the streaming arena. As more and more people are cord cutting, obsoletion becomes a real risk for the public television broadcaster.

Last year, PBS shared the holdup is that streaming services want a national feed, but PBS’ Chief Digital Officer Ira 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.

Their deal with YouTube TV gave local channels the option to join, but according to reports, the infrastructure has proven to be costly for member stations. With distribution to services past just YouTube TV, it will allow them to spread their investment across more streamers.