PBS President and CEO Paula A. Kerger announced at the Television Critics Association (TCA) winter tour that the network will launch the first-ever national 24/7 PBS KIDS channel, provided by member stations across the country on TV and via live streaming on digital platforms. The free service, which will feature 24/7 educational programming, ensures that PBS KIDS’ high-quality content is available to all children and caregivers on a platform and at a time that works for them, including primetime, weekends and other out-of-school times when they are most likely to tune in.
The channel will also be available as a live stream on pbskids.org and on the free PBS KIDS Video App for mobile and tablet devices, which has been downloaded 16.4 million times and totaled 4.2 billion streams last year.
“By offering PBS KIDS programming 24/7, PBS stations will extend the reach and impact that they already have in their communities, where they provide essential services for families,” said Kerger. “With the launch of the multi-platform 24/7 PBS KIDS channel, all of America’s children will be able to access our trusted educational content anywhere, anytime and through any device. As the only free national 24/7 kids’ TV service in the U.S., the PBS KIDS channel will be a game changer for all families – especially our nation’s most underserved, many of whom do not attend preschool and rely solely on over-the-air television for media content.”
Later this year, the live stream will introduce a first-of-its kind integrated games feature, enabling children to toggle between a PBS KIDS show and an activity that extends learning – all in one seamless digital experience. This new feature is grounded in research demonstrating that measurable gains in learning are achieved when children interact with both PBS KIDS video and games. The games will align with the learning goals of each TV series, deepening children’s engagement and supporting learning.
“We know from years of research that PBS KIDS helps children build important social-emotional and school readiness skills, and that the learning potential of media is multiplied when parents co-view with their children,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Children’s Media and Education, PBS. “We are encouraged to see how much parents value family viewing time, ranking PBS KIDS as the number-one use of family screen time, because parent involvement is critical to our long-term vision of using the power of media to create a personalized learning experience that engages and meets the needs of kids, parents and teachers.”
Beginning Friday, April 21, 2017, the new channel will debut “PBS KIDS Family Night,” weekly family viewing events featuring movie specials or themed programming every Friday from 7 to 9 pm, and repeating on Saturday and Sunday evenings. “Family Night” will kick off with popular movie favorites, and will include world premiere movie events.
Stations will provide the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel in addition to their current primary PBS channel, which will continue to feature a PBS KIDS day part combined with award-winning dramas, documentaries and investigative journalism. The schedule of children’s programming on the primary PBS channel will be different from the 24/7 channel, offering families a variety of options.
Viewers can find local station schedule information here.