YouTube TV to add Some PBS Stations Starting Next Month

PBS will finally make its entry into the streaming market when YouTube TV starts adding its stations starting Nov. 4, according to Cord Cutters News. It’s also expected that PBS Kids will also be added at that time.

Some PBS stations, including WGBH in Boston and WHYY in Philadelphia, will not be among the first round of stations to be added, according to sources.

At the time it was announced in July, PBS described the move as the “first digital partnership of its kind” for the network and that it expected to be on the YouTube TV platform by the end of 2019. YouTube TV is a virtual OTT multichannel provider that was among the first to carry all local broadcast stations. Monthly subscriptions run at $50 and the service for more than 70 channels.

The road to OTT for PBS was more convoluted than for network broadcasters because PBS stations are more independent than their commercial counterparts and deal with more programming rights issues. The network had to reach a “critical mass” of stations signing on before it could make a commitment to streaming. The agreement PBS reached allows for up to three PBS stations to stream per market.

The deal wasn’t without some controversy as some smaller PBS stations complained about the fees that it would have to pay—ranging from $250 to $1,500 per month—to Google, which owns YouTube TV.

“The cost may be more than we had thought,” David Gordon, GM of KEET in Eureka, Calif., told Current last summer. “We’re just going to have to find the money to do it.”

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.