PBS bolsters its on-demand lineup

Pubcaster adding 7 shows for VOD

Pubcasting and cable snuggled closer together Thursday as PBS announced it would make seven more of its shows available via video-on-demand.

In addition, topper Paula Kerger said pubcaster would take the unprecedented step of making a widely anticipated “Frontline” doc available free on-demand, immediately after PBS preems it the end of this month and for two weeks thereafter.

PBS already supplies three of its shows to cable VOD: “Antiques Roadshow,” “Frontline” and “The News Hour With Jim Lehrer.” Last year, PBS struck a multicast deal with NCTA, guaranteeing cable carriage of up to four digital channels from a local PBS station.

The additional seven shows set for VOD are “Nature,” “Nightly Business Report,” “NOW,” “P.O.V.,” “Tavis Smiley,” “Washington Week With Gwen Ifill & National Journal” and “Wide Angle.”

“As viewer habits shift, it’s critical that local PBS stations make their content available on-demand in this way, allowing our stations to not only reach additional viewers at times convenient to them but also to highlight the quality content and variety of services the stations offer their communities,” Kerger said in a statement.

Looking to enhance its reputation for providing informative programming on serious contemporary issues, PBS hopes to boost exposure for a two-part “Frontline” doc on AIDS by making it available via VOD immediately after it airs on May 30-31. Cable Positive, the cable and telecom industry’s AIDS action org, will distribute the four-hour series to cable MSOs.

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