ARLINGTON, Va.—PBS has announced that a $3 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) will allow PBS Digital Studios to establish three Regional Digital Centers of Innovation that will expand its digital capacity and create a new pipeline of multi-platform content.
“With the support from CPB, we have a great opportunity to develop a digital-first programming strategy at the local level that will expand PBS's production capacity and create a new pipeline of entertaining and engaging content from around the country,” said Sylvia Bugg, PBS chief programming executive and general manager, general audience programming. “Additionally, through this collaboration, we are able to foster the skills of content creators across the PBS system, enabling us to serve younger and more diverse audiences through experimentation with new formats and platforms.”
Each regional center will partner with up to three PBS member stations, which means that the effort will produce up to 15 new digital series over the next two years.
The regional centers will exclusively focus on content that elevates the voices of diverse content creators both in front of and behind the camera, PBS said.
The first shows under the initiative will begin rolling out on YouTube and, in some cases, Facebook, TikTok and IGTV, in the spring of 2022.
Each regional center will be led by a digital executive producer who will foster and manage new partnerships with local, diverse digital content creators within their assigned region, PBS said.
Additionally, a newly hired diversity and inclusion director will support PBS station partners, help lead content development, as well as oversee digital workshops and training to ensure that the content produced is authentic and inclusive of all audiences. Workshop materials will also be made available to PBS member stations to help team members expand their skills and digital capabilities to produce content, as well as encourage innovation and experimentation.
PBS Digital Studios produces original, digital programming for YouTube and Facebook. It has more than 27 million subscribers, generating an average of 50 million views a month and has acquired more than three billion lifetime views.
Currently, the Studio has 20 original series streaming online, including eight series from PBS member stations.
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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.
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