Five months into PBS’ Pilot Schedule Project, which has seven local pubcasters test-driving changes to the program schedule, some interesting results have surfaced.
‘For the weeks we’ve seen so far, the majority of the [programs] have been up in terms of audience,’ says John Wilson, senior VP of programming at PBS. ‘Something that’s even more encouraging is the fact that, simply by rearranging the shows in terms of how they play and what they’re scheduled with and against, we’ve seen an improvement in some of the demographics – and that’s without adding any new content.’ PBS’ has traditionally attracted a more mature audience, but changes to the schedule have enticed younger viewers to tune in.
PBS is still awaiting flow studies that reveal data on time spent viewing, but the experiment is generally viewed as a success. A new national schedule will be rolled out in Fall 2001.