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DIRECTV STREAM Adds PBS, Local PBS Affiliates Coming Later This Year

PBS fans will have a new way to stream public television content. DIRECTV STREAM now has an agreement to carry the channel. Participating PBS member stations will become available over the next few months, and the full launch will be completed in 2022.

Although PBS has a free streaming app, Ira Rubenstein, chief digital and marketing officer of PBS, says the organization wants to branch out on other platforms. “We wanted to get distribution on vMVPDs as people are cutting the cord so that we can serve our stations and the people who live in these communities,” Rubenstein told Broadcasting+Cable.

This makes DIRECTV STREAM the only live TV streaming service besides YouTube TV to offer PBS included in its channel guide. Rubenstein says talks are continuing with other live streaming services. “I’m hopeful that when some of the others see we have yet another deal done, they will start feeling some pressure to figure out how they can add us,” he said.

Last month, DIRECTV STREAM added PBS Kids to its lineup.

“Entertainment is personal and should serve every member of the household, which is why we’re partnering with PBS to deliver DIRECTV STREAM customers more choice, more control and a more convenient way to access the content they care about most,” said Rob Thun, chief content officer for DirecTV.

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Why is PBS not on all live streaming services? PBS had previously said the holdup is that streaming services want a national feed, but PBS refused. PBS wants to be treated like a local network affiliate where its 330+ member channels can also show their local content. While PBS stations appear on every cable provider as a must-carry channel, those rules do not apply in the streaming world.

PBS is packed with great content, including the stellar documentary series “Frontline,” the music series “Austin City Limits,” the travel guide “Rick Steves’ Europe” and Ken Burns’ documentary miniseries like “Muhammad Ali.” Users around the country will also find programs produced specifically for their area.

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