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PBS to Bow New TV/Streaming Service for Kids

23 Feb, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Move comes six months after 'Sesame Street' signed deal with HBO

PBS Feb. 23 announced it will launch a new TV channel and live stream on digital platforms offering kids' programming 24 hours a day. With content provided by local PBS stations, viewers will be able to watch the live stream through pbskids.org and on the PBS kids video app, which is available on a variety of mobile devices, tablets and over-the-top platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One and Chromecast.

Streaming on pbskids.org accounts for nearly half of all time spent watching kids videos online, and the site is No. 1 in the kids category for total views and minutes spent, according to comScore. Across digital platforms, PBS Kids averages 419.8 million streams per month, according to Google Analytics.

“Given that 54% of all children nationwide do not have the opportunity to attend preschool, providing access is a critical element of our public service mission,” Paula Kerger, CEO of PBS, said in a statement.

Citing Nielsen data that suggests live TV is the dominant way children access video, accounting for 68% of the time children spend watching video content, PBS said the channel will feature current kids series “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Odd Squad,” “Wild Kratts,” “Dinosaur Train,” and new series “Nature Cat” and “Ready Jet Go!,” which premiered Feb. 15.

“Splash,” a new series from The Jim Henson Co., will debut in the fall.

The new PBS channel and digital platform comes six months after Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind venerable series “Sesame Street,” which features Henson’s characters, announced a deal with HBO, making the next five seasons of the Emmy Award-winning show available first on HBO, HBO Go and SVOD service HBO Now.

PBS said the new 24/7 channel will be in addition to the primary PBS channel, which features children's programming. The schedule of children's programming on the primary PBS channel will be different from the 24/7 channel, offering families a variety of options.

“Parents know that PBS Kids makes a difference in their children’s lives, which is why so many have said they would value having access to our content throughout the day,” Kerger said.

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