PBS and its member stations distribute video on a variety of services, including iTunes (AAPL) Joost and Adobe Media Player (ADBE). But that distribution is about to get a lot wider.
The public broadcaster and hundreds of its local broadcast stations have adopted technology from The Platform (CMCSA) to syndicate and share video. Which means the smallest PBS affiliates will get access PBS shows like “Frontline” for their own Web sites, and both PBS and its stations can more easily syndicate shows across the wider Web.
The deal, announced at PBS’s annual meeting in Palm Desert, Calif., signals a new distribution strategy for PBS. Previously PBS and the stations that produce content, such as Boston’s WGBH or New York’s WNET, had limited ability to distribute shows online. Each of them cut their own deals, and used a hodgepodge of different technologies, players and strategies.
Now the public broadcaster and its affiliates are looking at distributing content more widely. The next challenge: Figuring out how PBS’s public-private model works on the Web. PBS content is distributed with sponsor messages included, so it’s unclear how ad-supported commercial distributors like Hulu (also powered by The Platform) or AOL TV would derive revenue from that arrangement.
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