Why Does PBS Need to Negotiate with PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW, YouTube TV, etc? You Asked, We Answer…

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This week, we once again reported on PBS staff announcing that they are in talks with services like Sling TV, Hulu, Philo, DIRECTV NOW, and YouTube TV. The goal, according to PBS, is to start streaming on cord cutting friendly services.

This announcement from PBS raised a lot of questions about why PBS even needs to talk with services like PlayStation Vue and Sling TV. With PBS being publicly funded, shouldn’t they just be made free for all services even streaming services?

So, why is PBS in talks with streaming services? Only 14% of PBS’s funding comes from the federal government. According to PBS, 27% of their funding comes from distribution deals with companies like Comcast and Charter.

Here is how PBS is funded:

  • Memberships 29%
  • Distribution 27%
  • Underwriting 20%
  • CPB & Federal 14%
  • Non-Fed Grants 7%
  • Other 4%

It is also important to remember that PBS’s money is controlled by a private company called the Corporation For Public Broadcasting. According to PBS’s website, it is “a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.”

Because PBS is a private company that gets most of its funding from non-federal funds, they need to negotiate the same way ABC or FOX does. PBS needs the money from pay-TV providers to stay afloat.

From these numbers, it is easy to see why as cord cutting grows PBS is moving to find new funding options by partnering with cord cutting services like YouTube TV.

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