PBS Launches Multicast Kids Channels, Streams

Only a day after the members of America’s Public Television Stations approved a new agreement for digital multicast channel carriage by cable operators, PBS officially took the wraps off plans to launch new 24/7 children’s services via multicast channels, as well as a live digital stream.

The streams will be available via pbskids.org and the PBS Kids Video App.

"The new PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and live stream offered by local member stations ensure that educational media is available to all families, all the time and via a platform that works for them," said PBS president Paula Kerger.

One of the reasons noncommercial WKAR-TV Detroit decided not to put its spectrum in the upcoming auction was in anticipation of launching multicast, multiplatform 24/7 kids programming and the need for the additional spectrum to do it.

Eventually, PBS says the live stream will be expanded to integrate gaming so kids can watch and play at the same time.

"The live stream and games feature is grounded in research demonstrating that measurable gains in learning are achieved when children engage with PBS Kids content on multiple platforms," PBS said. "The games will align with the learning goals of each TV series, deepening children’s involvement and supporting learning."

The channel will include veterans Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood (pictured), Odd Squad, Wild Kratts and Dinosaur Train as well as new series Nature Cat, Ready Jet Go!, and SPLASH (working title), will premiere next fall.

PBS will continue to provide a PBS Kids daypart to the primary programming channel of noncom affiliates, but the program will be differentiated from the new multicast channels and stream.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.