PBS Doesn’t See Netflix as Competition; Still Open to Making American Dramas

IndieWire | 2/2/2019 | Staff
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Recently, the government narrative of slashing funding to PBS has been quieter, but the consequences have still been felt. “We were zeroed out for the last two years from the administration budget,” PBS president Paula Kerger told the Television Critics Association during the press tour on Saturday.

However, she added that no matter which party is in office, “I never assume that the money is just going to come… We need to make sure that each and every day that the local officials know this is important. There won’t be a time that I’m relaxed… and justifiably so.” She feels that PBS should always be proving why its programming is important and how the money is well-invested.

Funding - PBS - Energies - Branding - Kerger

Besides funding, PBS must also focus its energies on creating its own branding. Fortunately, Kerger doesn’t seem to be too worried about streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon owning the television landscape.

“Not only the resources, but the competition of the Netflixes and the Amazons is significant,” she acknowledged, “But it is also not the full range of services and programs that we provide. Their investments in different content strategies continue to shift. Their investment in documentaries which was very significant two years ago, eased up significantly a year ago, and now is more targeted. It’s very different than the work that we’re doing.”

PBS - Focuses - Awareness - Programming - Netflix

One of PBS’ focuses is awareness of how its programming is different, especially from Netflix, which is trying to be every network on one service. That could be their downfall though.

“A lot of the people who go to the Netflixes and then get lost in the jukebox effect of just scrolling through lots of stuff,” she said. “There are lots of people who still like curated experiences. We still think carefully about schedules. We look for ways to bring...
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