PBS: A Beginner’s Guide..

On Tuesday 1st November, a new channel will be launching a television channel in the UK via satellite on Sky and via cable on Virgin Media. It will be called PBS.
A new channel? It sounds more like the thing that drives my girlfriend mental once a month..
That’s something entirely different, although to be quite honest, anyone who’s prepared to go out with you probably IS mental. No my friend, PBS stands for Public Broadcast Service. In America it is a non-profit television network and this will be its first foreign channel ever.
Yes it is actually, and the best thing is that due to its funding structure, you won’t find any of the outrageous bias you see on some American channels. Founded in 1970, PBS is also the most prominent provider of television programs to U.S. public television stations, distributing series such as PBS NewsHour, Masterpiece and Frontline.
Those programmes sound a bit dull..
Well they don’t have sweary cartoons, if that’s what you’re after, but PBS has a reputation for its wealth of high quality, impartial and in-depth programming, specialising in Current Affairs, Sport, History and Science. As such, the PBS UK lineup will heavily feature documentaries and history programs such as American Experience, Frontline and Nova as well as Ken Burns documentary films such as Prohibition (which it will debut with on 1st November). PBS NewsHour will also air the day after it is broadcast in the US. In total PBS UK is due to air 500 unique hours of content in 2011 and 1000 hours in 2012.
But we’ve already got loads of American telly clogging up our EPGs, so why do we need this lot as well?
In the field of drama and comedy, you’re right, we’re not short of imports from across the pond, but what PBS will bring is the best of American History, Science, Music, Current Affairs, Arts and Culture. Many viewers think we don’t get enough of that in the UK..
So it’s a programme for old people then?
You might have the attention span of a goldfish, but that doesn’t mean that others of your generation do. According to PBS UK, the channel will appeal to viewers who are natural explorers and want to be challenged and stimulated. They claim it’s ‘more about mindset than demographics’, by the viewers are likely to be ‘up-market’ as they put it. In many ways, it will operate like BBC Worldwide and generate a small profit for its non-profit parent company.
Will it be free though?
It will be available to anyone with basic Sky packages..

For more information, visit the PBS UK website.