PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger spoke with paidContent about the focus on local and hyperlocal content from PBS affiliates as PBS.org undergoes a redesign and the public broadcaster prepares to release an iPad app. Highlights:
Original local content like that should tie into the interests of PBS’ wider national audience. That’s something we’ve done for 40 years on television. The Web-site relaunch will enable us to push people more aggressively into the individual station sites by serving as a larger portal that will send viewers great content, whether it’s from their local PBS station or not.
We’re helping the stations build up capacity, which is something we started last year when we introduced a new media player. Some stations, like WNET, have a great interactive department, and they’ve built a lot of stuff that’s used locally but appeals nationally. At the same time, I’ve got a station in Wyoming that just hired their first webmaster. They don’t have a lot of resources, and it’s hard for us and them to carve out the money to invest in new-media work in addition to continuing to keep the core broadcast end strong.
We’re at this critical decision point: Do we build up content for TV or for the Web? How do you make the dollars stretch? The only thing we can do is figure out how much we can build for them at scale and then what advice and tools we can give them so they can quickly do the work themselves.