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 17 consecutive years, a national study has rated PBS as the most-trusted institution in America.

Strong Reach Across America


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, 83% of all U.S. television households – over 215 million people – watch PBS via traditional television. PBS reaches 89% of non-internet homes, 82% of lower-income homes, and 78% 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, 9/24/2018 - 9/22/2019, 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 109 million people watch their local PBS stations, more than 28 million viewers watch video on PBS’s site and apps, and over 19 million fans enjoy PBS Digital Studios content on YouTube. (TV - Nielsen NPOWER, 10/1/2018-9/29/2018, L+7 TP reach, average monthly schedule, M-Su 6A-6A, 1‐min qualifier, standard monthly unification, All PBS Stations; Owned Streaming – Google Analytics, Oct 2018-Sep 2019 average monthly users summed across PBS and PBS Kids digital platforms, not deduplicated; YouTube Digital Studios – YouTube Analytics, PBS Digital Studios CMS, Oct 2018-Sep 2019, average monthly sum of users across channels, not deduplicated)
  • PBS closed the 2018-19 season as the 7th most-watched television network in primetime. PBS's primetime viewership is significantly larger than most commercial networks, including Discovery Channel (the PBS audience is +70% larger), History (+54%), USA (+44%), and HGTV (+38%). (Nielsen NPOWER, 9/24/2018-9/22/2019, P2+ AA (000), M-Su 8p-11p time period data, All PBS Stations)
  • Each month, Americans watch an average of 298 million videos across all of PBS’s web, mobile and connected device platforms. (Google Analytics, Oct 2018 – Sep 2019)
  • PBS-managed social media accounts claim a combined 2.3 million Twitter followers, 6.3 million Facebook followers, and 21.4 million YouTube subscribers. (Twitter Analytics, Facebook Creator Studio, YouTube Analytics as of Oct 2019.  Includes direct-to-PBS Facebook program pages, PBS Digital Studios, and Value PBS.  Followers are not deduplicated)
  • PBS Digital Studios produces original content exclusively for digital platforms. PBS Digital Studios averages more than 48 million views per month on YouTube, a year-over-year increase of 12%. (YouTube Analytics, Oct 2018 – Sep 2019)

Children's Programming

  • Over the course of a year, 66% of all kids age 2-8 – or 18 million children – watch PBS. (Source: Nielsen NPOWER, 9/24/2018 - 9/22/2019, 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. (Source: Nielsen NPOWER, 9/24/2018 - 9/22/2019, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, 50% unif., 1+min., K2-11, LOH18-49w/C<6. All PBS Stations, children’s cable TV networks)

  • PBS stations reach more children, and more moms of young children, in low-income homes than any children’s TV network. (Source: Nielsen NPOWER, 9/24/2018 - 9/22/2019, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, 50% unif., 1+min., K2-11 in HH w/Inc <$25K, LOH18-49 in HH w/Inc<25K, PBS stations, children’s cable networks.)

  • PBS stations reach more Hispanic, African-American, Asian American, and Native American pre-school aged children than any of the children’s TV networks. (Source: Nielsen NPOWER, 9/24/2018 - 9/22/2019, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach, K2-5, 50% unif., 1+min., K2-5 Hispanic, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, American/Alaskan Native. All PBS Stations, children’s cable TV networks.)

  • Thanks to stations’ enthusiastic adoption of the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel, children’s engagement with PBS content has grown dramatically. Kids from under-served homes are benefitting the most. Since the launch of the 24/7 channel, children’s time spent viewing PBS has improved by 45% in low-income families, 48% in broadcast homes, and 79% in rural homes. On digital platforms, children who watch the PBS KIDS 24/7 live stream are, on average, 36% more engaged than other viewers on PBS KIDS streaming platforms. (Source: TV – Nielsen NPOWER L+7, 12/31/18-1/27/19, 1/2/17-1/29/17, M-Su 6AM-6AM Time Pd R&F, Avg Mins Viewed, All PBS stations, K2-8, HH Inc <$25K, Bcast Only, C&D Counties. Digital – Google Analytics Oct ‘18 - Sep ‘19)

  • PBS KIDS averages 11.1 million monthly users and 286 million monthly streams across digital platforms. (Source: Google Analytics Oct ’18 – Sep ’19)

  • There have been 71.4 million PBS KIDS apps downloaded to date.  (Source: AppFigures Mar ’11 – Sep ’19)


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 17th 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, video streaming services and others. (Marketing & Research Resources, Inc., (M&RR) 1/2020)

  • Seventy-three 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) 1/2020)

  • 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) 1/2020)

  • 67% of parents surveyed named PBS KIDS the most educational media brand, substantially outscoring the second-most highly rated kids brand, Universal Kids, which was considered most educational by 9%, followed by Disney Channel (7%). (Marketing & Research Resources, Inc., (M&RR) 1/2020)

In the Classroom

PBS is committed to bringing the power of media into the classroom – helping educators to engage students in new and different ways.

  • PBS LearningMedia, a partnership of PBS and the WGBH Educational Foundation, is an online destination that offers free access to thousands of resources from PBS stations and partners.
    • PBS LearningMedia offers educators free access to thousands of resources - videos, images, interactives, lesson plans, articles, primary sources and more.
    • More than 800 thousand unique users visit PBS LearningMedia each month during the school year. (Google Analytics, 9/1/2018-6/30/2019)

Other Highlights

  • PBS and its member stations are America's undisputed home for documentary storytelling. During the 2018-19 season, PBS offered 232 hours of new documentary content, seen by over 90 million people. (Nielsen NPOWER Live+7, 9/24/2018-9/22/2019, M-SU 8p-11p, P2+ program 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 2018-19 season, PBS offered 225 hours of new arts and cultural programming, seen by 94 million people. (Nielsen NPOWER Live+7, 9/24/2018-9/22/2019, M-SU 8p-11p, P2+ program reach on a 1-minute qualifier at 50 percent unification; arts, culture, drama, and personal history genres)


New and Noteworthy

  • In the first eight weeks of the COVID-related shutdown, PBS TV stations reached over 72 million adults in primetime, and more than 24 million monthly users engaged with PBS general audience content via owned digital platforms. (Source: Nielsen NPOWER L+SD, 3/16-5/10/20, M-SU 8P-11P, 75% unif, 1+ min., P18+, ALL PBS STATIONS.  Google Analytics 3/16 – 5/10/20 (average of 3/16 – 4/16, 4/17 – 5/10 for PBS.org, PBS Video app on mobile and OTT)

  • During the COVID crisis, PBS cemented its role as America’s educational media resource.  In the first eight weeks of the shutdown, PBS TV stations have reached 12.2 million children and 12.1 million parents during at-home learning hours, in addition to an average of 13.5 million PBS KIDS users online, over 1.6 million parents and over 6.6 million in the digital classroom. (Sources: Nielsen NPOWER L+SD, 3/16-5/10/20, M-F 6AM-6PM, 75% unif, 1+ min., K2-18, A25-54 HOH/Partner/Spouse in HH w/Child. Google Analytics 3/16 – 5/10/20 (average of 3/16 – 4/16, 4/17 – 5/10 for pbskids.org, PBS KIDS Games and Video app and PBS KIDS owned OTT apps) Note: That the start of at home learning as well as spring break dates varied across the country. These stats are inclusive of the full eight-week period, beginning March 16th.)

  • HERO ELEMENTARY is off to a strong start, fitting in well with the PBS KIDS lineup on-air and generating the most streams for a PBS KIDS program premiere since 2015. In its first month, HERO ELEMENTARY reached nearly 7 million viewers on-air, and it was streamed nearly 40 million times. (Source: Nielsen NPOWER L+7, 6/1/20-6/28/2020, Series & Spcl Reach, 75% unif., 1+ min. Google Analytics, 20 day KIDS series premiere streaming window,June 2020.)


  • PBS’s broadcast signal is uniquely important to the 3.2 million American television households that lack access to cable or the internet. (Source: Nielsen NPOWER Feb 2020 Universe Estimates, HHLD Internet Access (Post Aug 2017) = No AND Cable Status = Broadcast Only)

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 April 2020, there have been 2.6 million Passport activations. Keyed by WORLD ON FIRE, BAPTISTE, and BEECHAM HOUSE, April 2020 marked a record month for Passport activations, users, and streams. (PBS MVAULT database, Dec 2015-Apr 2020; Google Analytics for streaming, Apr 2020)

Icon 2020 PBS Trust Flyer (1.7 MB)  

View and download the PBS KIDS infographic

August 2020