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PBS to use ratings targets

Struggling through a funding drought that has seen underwriting fall by 26% in the last two years, this fall PBS plans to adopt ratings-target figures to evaluate which programs to greenlight, a move that will influence the pubcaster's support of docs.
May 1, 2004

Struggling through a funding drought that has seen underwriting fall by 26% in the last two years, this fall PBS plans to adopt ratings-target figures to evaluate which programs to greenlight, a move that will influence the pubcaster’s support of docs.

‘We’ll create ratings goals at the time programs are greenlit,’ explains pbs spokesperson Jan MacNamara. ‘Programs will be assigned different objectives. We wouldn’t look for the same rating from ‘Nova’ and Live from Lincoln Center.’ Targets will be hammered out with producers over the summer.

MacNamara says the changes, disclosed in PBS’ internal 2005 programming strategy report, will have a minimal impact on commissioning. ‘Our mission hasn’t changed, nor do these new measures represent a huge shift, since we’ve always considered viewership to be a measure in performance.’

About The Author
Meagan Kashty is an associate editor of realscreen, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Meagan is an award-winning business journalist. Prior to joining the realscreen team, Meagan was online editor of Canadian Grocer, named Magazine of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Business Media Awards. She can be reached at mkashty@brunico.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @MegKashty

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