U.S. public channels WGBH (Boston), WETA (Washington, D.C.) and Thirteen/WNET (New York) have disbanded the PBS Sponsorship Group, a consortium formed with PBS in 1997 to collectively raise money for each member’s projects. Now, the channels will each fend for themselves and possibly compete with one another.
Notes Lance Ozier, WGBH’s VP of national program marketing, ‘The experience we had with the previous group suggests that the people closest to the product are the ones who have more information, and can advocate more strongly for it.’ He continues: ‘These corporate sponsorships are being sold to help us finish the production budgets…so each partner, including PBS in its own acquisitions, has money at risk. It just seemed that the individual organizations would be better served covering their own risks.’
WGBH has already set up its own marketing unit, the Sponsorship Group for Public Television, which will have such well-known strands as ‘Frontline’ and ‘Nova’ in its stable. Ozier says his group will also likely take on up to five outside projects, either from other public stations or indie prodcos.