It’s the first virtual MVPD distribution deal for PBS, which has kept its more than 330 affiliate stations—and popular original content, such as acclaimed series Downton Abbey—locked into traditional cable, satellite and telco linear bundles, ever since the emergence of the vMVPD format with the launch of Dish Network’s Sling TV five years ago.
Neither PBS nor Google, operator of YouTube TV, have released a list of which PBS affiliates officially debuted on the YouTube TV platform Tuesday. But PBS said the distribution provides access to 75% of U.S. households.
According to equity research firm MoffettNathanson, YouTube TV is the third most popular virtual pay TV service, tallying 1.6 million users as of mid-November.
“Every year, more and more households are seeking alternative ways to view their favorite PBS programs,” said PBS chief digital and marketing officer Ira Rubenstein, in a statement. “PBS is committed to making trusted content available to all households across as many platforms as possible. We are pleased that YouTube TV recognizes public television’s unique structure and worked with us to provide our viewers with more ways to watch the programs that they love through their local PBS station.”
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