Overview

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America's Largest Classroom, the Nation's Largest Stage,
a Trusted Window to the World

Every day, PBS and its more than 330 member stations fulfill our essential mission to the American public, providing trusted programming that is uniquely different from commercial broadcasting and treating audiences as citizens, not simply consumers. For 16 consecutive years, a national study has rated PBS as the most-trusted institution in America.

Strong Reach Across America

Footprint

Public television is a near-universal media service, available commercial-free to anyone with an antenna or internet connection.

  • Over the course of a year, 86% of all U.S. television households – over 230 million people – watch PBS via traditional television. PBS reaches 93% of non-internet homes, 85% of lower-income homes, and 82% of rural homes. The demographic breakdown of PBS's full-day audience reflects the overall U.S. population with respect to race, ethnicity, education, income, and geography. (Nielsen NPOWER, 9/25/2017 - 9/23/2018, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, 50% unif., 1+min., lower income=HH w/Inc <$25K, rural= Cty Sz C&D. All PBS Stations)
     
  • Each month, over 120 million people watch their local PBS stations. (Nielsen NPOWER, 9/25/2017-9/23/2018, L+7 Reach & Frequency Report, average monthly schedule, October 2017‐September 2018 M-Su 6A-6A, 1‐min qualifier, standard monthly unification, ALL PBS Stations)
     
  • Each month, Americans watch an average of 255 million videos across all of PBS’s web, mobile and connected device platforms; half of these streams are delivered on a mobile platform. (Google Analytics, October 2017 – September 2018)
     
  • PBS Digital Studios produces original content exclusively for digital platforms. PBS Digital Studios averages more than 43 million views per month on YouTube, a year-over-year increase of 22%. (YouTube Analytics, October 2017 – September 2018)
     

Children's Programming

  • Over the course of a year, 72% of all kids age 2-8 – or 20 million children – watch PBS. (Nielsen NPOWER, 9/25/2017 - 9/23/2018, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, All PBS Stations, 50% unif., 1+min.)
     
  • PBS stations reach more children, and more moms of young children, than any of the children’s TV networks. (Nielsen NPOWER, 9/25/2017 - 9/23/2018, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, 50% unif., 1+min., K2-11, LOH18-49w/C<6. All PBS Stations, DSNY, NICK, DSNYJr, NICKJr., SPRT, TOON & DISCFam)
     
  • PBS stations reach more children, and more moms of young children, in low-income homes than any of the children’s TV networks. (Nielsen NPOWER, 9/25/2017 - 9/23/2018, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, 50% unif., 1+min., LOH18-49w/C<6, HH w/Inc <$25K. All PBS Stations, DSNY, NICK, DSNYJr, NICKJr., SPRT, TOON & DISCFam)
     
  • PBS stations reach more Hispanic, African-American, Asian American, and Native American pre-school aged children than any of the children’s TV networks. (Nielsen NPOWER, 9/25/2017 - 9/23/2018, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, 50% unif., 1+min., K2-5 Hispanic, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, American/Alaskan Native. All PBS Stations, DSNY, NICK, DSNYJr, NICKJr., SPRT, TOON & DISCFam)
     
  • Thanks to stations’ enthusiastic adoption of the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel, children’s engagement with PBS content has grown dramatically. Kids from low-income and broadcast homes are benefitting the most; time spent viewing PBS has improved by 62% among low-income families, 41% in broadcast homes, and 91% in rural homes. On digital platforms, children who watch the PBS KIDS 24/7 live stream are, on average, 31% more engaged than other viewers on PBS KIDS streaming platforms. (TV- Nielsen NPOWER L+7, 4/30/2018 – 10/28/2018, 4/25/2016 – 10/30/2016, M-Su6A-6A All PBS Stations TPd Avg Mo R&F, Std Mo unif., 1+ min. K2-8 HH w/Inc<$25K, K2-8 B'cast Only HH, K2-8 in Cty C&D. Digital – Google Analytics March – September 2018 (Engagement = average session duration for pbskids.org, PBS KIDS Video app, PBS KIDS owned OTT video apps)
     
  • PBS KIDS averages 10.9 million monthly users and 245 million monthly streams across digital platforms. (Google Analytics Oct ’17 – Sep ’18)
     
  • There have been 55.1 million PBS KIDS apps downloaded to date. (AppFigures Mar ’11 – Sep ’18)

 

Trusted Brand, Measurable Impact

Public Perception

At a time when public trust in national institutions is eroding, confidence in PBS and local stations remains strong.

  • For the 16th year, Americans ranked PBS and its member stations the most-trusted institution among a consideration set that includes courts of law, commercial cable and broadcast television, newspapers, digital platforms and others. (Marketing & Research Resources, Inc., (M&RR) 1/2019)

  • Seventy-one percent agree that PBS stations provide an excellent value to communities. When asked if the funding for public broadcasting was adequate, nearly 90% said funding was either about right or too little. (Marketing & Research Resources, Inc., (M&RR) 1/2019)

  • When asked which networks they trust most when it comes to news and public affairs programming, respondents ranked PBS #1, ahead of the major broadcast and cable news networks. (Marketing & Research Resources, Inc., (M&RR) 1/2019)

  • 66% of parents surveyed named PBS KIDS the most educational media brand, substantially outscoring the second-most highly rated kids brand, Disney Channel, which was considered most educational by 8%, followed by Universal Kids (7%). (Marketing & Research Resources, Inc., (M&RR) 1/2019)

Other Highlights

  • PBS and its member stations are America's undisputed home for documentary storytelling. During the 2017-18 season, PBS offered 200 hours of new documentary film, seen by over 92 million people. (Nielsen NPOWER Live+7, 9/25/2017-9/23/2018, P2+ reach on a 1 minute qualifier at 50 percent unification; all non-fiction programming excluding news, formats, and performance)

  • PBS and member stations are helping to keep the arts alive today and for generations to come. During the 2017-18 season, PBS offered nearly 300 hours of new arts and cultural programming, seen by 115 million people.(Nielsen NPOWER Live+7, 9/25/2017-9/23/2018, P2+ reach on a 1 minute qualifier at 50 percent unification; arts, culture, drama, and personal history genres)

 

New and Noteworthy

  • According to Nielsen fast nationals, the premiere of Country Music averaged a 3.5 HH rating and delivered 5.5 million total viewers per minute, driving PBS’s most-watched night since The Vietnam War.  Moreover, thanks to the film, September 15th marked PBS’s most-streamed day since May 2019. (TV - Nielsen Live+SD fast nationals, HH AA% and P2+ AA delivery. “Best night since” comparison based on Live+SD NTI time period data (ALL PBS stations, M-SU 8p-11p P2+ delivery). Streaming – Google Analytics across PBS.org, mobile apps, and OTT apps)

 

Landscape

  • PBS’s broadcast signal is uniquely important to the 3.4 million American households that lack access to cable or the internet. (Nielsen NPOWER Universe Estimates, HHLD Internet Access (Post Aug 2017) = No AND Cable Status = Broadcast OnlyMay19)

Special Services

  • PBS Passport is a member benefit, available through local stations, that provides extended on-demand access to current and past programs. As of May 2019, 1.9 million members have activated their Passport streaming benefit. (PBS MVAULT database, 12/2015 – 5/2019)

Icon 2019 PBS Trust Brochure (1.6 MB)  

View and download the PBS KIDS infographic

October 2019