PBS Digital Studios Receives $3M Grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to Establish Regional Digital Centers of Innovation

New Content Pipeline Will Focus on Elevating Diverse Voices and Stories Over the Next Two Years

August 10, 2021

ARLINGTON, VA (August 10, 2021) – Today at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger announced that with a $3 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), PBS Digital Studios will establish three Regional Digital Centers of Innovation to build its digital capacity and create a new pipeline of multi-platform content. Each regional center will partner with up to three PBS member stations located in geographically diverse markets across the country, resulting in up to 15 new digital series coming to its digital platforms over the next two years. The regional centers will exclusively focus on content that elevates the voices of diverse content creators both in front of and behind the camera. The first shows under the initiative will begin rolling out on YouTube and, in some cases, Facebook, TikTok and IGTV, in the spring of 2022.

Each regional center will be led by a Digital Executive Producer who will foster and manage new partnerships with local, diverse digital content creators within their assigned region. Additionally, a newly hired Diversity and Inclusion Director will support PBS station partners, help lead content development, as well as oversee digital workshops and trainings to ensure that the content produced is authentic and inclusive of all audiences. Workshop materials will also be made available to PBS member stations to help team members expand their skills and digital capabilities to produce content, as well as encourage innovation and experimentation.

“With the support from CPB, we have a great opportunity to develop a digital-first programming strategy at the local level that will expand PBS's production capacity and create a new pipeline of entertaining and engaging content from around the country,” said Sylvia Bugg, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming. “Additionally, through this collaboration, we are able to foster the skills of content creators across the PBS system, enabling us to serve younger and more diverse audiences through experimentation with new formats and platforms.” 

“We are proud to support PBS Digital Studios and the critical work of local public media stations as they tell stories that highlight local and regional diversity,” said Pat Harrison, CPB President and CEO.

As a result of the grant, PBS Digital Studios seeks to create fresh, insightful and responsive content for a fast-moving, socially conscious landscape. Regional content will be distributed across multiple platforms, the primary being the PBS Digital Studios YouTube themed channels, but may also appear on Facebook, TikTok and IGTV, as well as on PBS and station digital platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App.

About PBS Digital Studios
PBS Digital Studios produces original, digital programming for YouTube and Facebook, designed to engage, enlighten, and entertain online audiences. The PBS Digital Studios network has more than 27 million subscribers, generating an average of 50 million views a month and has acquired more than three billion lifetime views. Currently, the Studio has 20 original series streaming online, including eight series from PBS member stations. Series include the Webby Award-winning IT’S OKAY TO BE SMART and CRASH COURSE, as well as popular series such as TWO CENTSEONS and PBS SPACE TIME.

About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally managed and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.  For more information, visit www.cpb.org and follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook, LinkedIn, and subscribe for other updates.

About PBS
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’s broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’s premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV— including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on TwitterFacebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

– PBS –

Atiya Frederick, PBS, 703-739-5147; anfrederick@pbs.org
BrandiiToby-Leon, Bullseye Communications, 865-963-2418; brandii.leon@bullseyecomm.com
Lisa Dyer, Bullseye Communications, 678-662-0606; lisa.dyer@bullseyecomm.com

Categories: CPB Funding, Digital, PBS