PBS Launches First Video Channel ‘PBS Documentaries’ August 4 – Deadline

PBS Distribution will launch PBS Documentaries, an Amazon Prime Video subscription channel with 900 hours of content from all of Ken Burns’ work for New star, Front line, American teachers, American experience, Nature, Independent lens and POV
Launching on August 4 for $ 3.99 a month with an Amazon Prime or Prime vide subscription, the channel is the latest push by public television to take advantage of the firm’s content in a bid to gain new revenue and an audience. more espacious. PBS Distribution (PBSD), the broadcaster’s expanding distribution arm, launched PBS Masterpiece in 2017 and the channel, also on Amazon Prime, helps fund Masterpiece co-productions
PBS CEO Paula Kerger was to host the channel with Burns as the station kicks off its virtual summer press tour at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Burns’ PBS movies over the decades, from The civil War (1990) a Country music (2019) have provided the network with some of their best-rated content. Feature documents range from Stanley Nelson The black panthers: vanguard of the revolution Frontline Academy Award nominee For sama to Last days in vietnam of the American experience.

Check out the first exclusive look here:

The entire Ken Burns collection will also be available to stream via Passport, the OTT service available to PBS members through their local stations. Both platforms benefit public television, which Burns is passionate about. He called the new channel unique in putting such a large body of quality work in one place.

“The art form has become so eclectic and people will have an opportunity to appreciate the different approaches to making documentaries,” he told Deadline. Documentaries have gained wide acceptance in recent years in “a combination of the power of storytelling and the desire to understand a complicated world.” He said he is currently finishing a three-part series on Ernest Hemingway that will air in the spring of 2021, and that he is working on projects around Muhammad Ali, the Holocaust, Benjamin Franklin and the American Revolution.

“PBS has become the premier destination for documentary programming in the United States and has invested enormously in giving films by various emerging storytellers and filmmakers that need much-needed national exposure,” Stanley Nelson said in a statement.

PBS Distriibution selected the list of documentaries. Frontline executive producer Raney Aronson said the channel will launch with approximately 100 of the 700 films in the series from the past 38 years. “I like that they include so many movies from so many years, it gives an idea of ​​the Frontline narrative.”

“I really hope more people can see them,” he added. “We all look forward to sustainability … and this is part of that puzzle.”

The documentation channel began to take shape late last year, said Andrea Downing, co-chair of PBSD when the division launched three subscription channels. In addition to Masterpiece, she has PBS KIDS (2016) and PBS Living (2019). “Revenue is incredibly important to the system,” he said. With the PBS Documentaries, “We believe we have a really strong product at the right price.”

PBS is a complex universe with 330 independent member stations that have widely divergent resources. Revenue from old-fashioned local promise remains crucial for many of them, so the debate over migrating content to newer platforms is very much alive, although the stations mostly acknowledge the need to meet viewers, especially to the youngest, where they are. PBS launched Passport in 2016 and helped update the stations one by one to make them available to donating members, usually $ 5 a month. After more heavy lifting, local stations began broadcasting live on YouTube TV in late 2019.