Cincinnati PBS station selling ads online

Well what do you know? Some Public Broadcasting people at the local level are getting the message. In a move that’s making noise in PBS circles, CET — the Public Broadcasting station in Cincinnati — has relaunched its website as an ad-supported Video on Demand portal.

“We anticipate the site to maintain its noncommercial feel and look,” said Susan Howarth, president and CEO of the 52-year-old CET. In light of this, Howarth added that the 501c3 nonprofit organization will be selective in its acceptance of ads on the new site.

…Unlike CET television, the Web site does not fall under Federal Communications Commission guidelines barring advertising. Reportedly, is reconsidering running paid advertising on its site, which has raised the ire of public media purists.

I’ve participated in a couple of Public Broadcasting conferences, and there is a willingness to explore creative solutions to funding problems. While this is a good thing for these stations, the message to all of us by this announcement is that the rules are different online. Watch for other PBS entities to explore completely off-brand “business” models downstream.

(Thanks to PaidContent)


  1. Robert Jacobs says

    Public broadcasting has always been commercial.

    Whether the ads run throughout the program or labeled as “underwritten” and placed at the beginning and end of a broadcast, it’s still commercial.

    In fact, underwritten programs could be considered more commercial because of the potential impact if the primary sponsor is lost. Do you think these sponsor have more or less influence over content when compared to traditional commercial broadcasting?

    Why not join the rest of the broadcast world and work to find creative advertising revenue?

    The government should have stopped funding so-called public broadcast years ago.

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