PBS going free-to-air in the UK

PBS AmericaPBS America, the new factual channel from America’s Public Broadcasting Service, is excited to announce its launch on Freesat, the UK’s subscription-free satellite TV service, from 29th October 2015.
Since launching as a pay channel in the UK four years ago, PBS America has carved out a niche in the factual market by showcasing high-quality, in-depth and balanced science, history and current affairs programming, including PBS’s multi-award winning NOVA, FRONTLINE and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE strands. During this time it has doubled its share of viewing and established itself as valuable addition to Britain’s digital TV market with viewers and media alike.

PBS America’s general manager, Richard Kingsbury, says of this launch

“Over the last four years we have built a high quality audience for well made American history, science and current affairs programmes. We’ve always had a lot of interest from free to air viewers who enjoy quality docs and so it’s wonderful to be able to reach them at last. I’m confident that the Freesat launch will further accelerate the growth of PBS America.”

Commenting on the announcement, Paul Gilshan, director of marketing and communications at Freesat, said:

“With over 200 channels on offer to our viewers, we’re always pleased to bring a wide range of compelling programming to the UK free-to-air market and, with PBS America now joining Freesat, the line-up just got even better giving viewers the opportunity to watch award-winning factual programming, totally subscription-free.”

PBS’s President and CEO, Paula Kerger, adds

“At PBS, we have a long history of working together with people from around the world to tell new stories and illuminate horizons. But there’s no one that shares a more special relationship with PBS than the UK, and I’m so thrilled that PBS America will now be available to the British public free of charge. This is a testament to the hard work of Richard and his team, to share some of the best of American culture beyond our own borders. I strongly believe in the power of media to bring people together, across neighbourhoods and across oceans, and this is an important step forward for that mission.”

PBS America is also the home of the legendary filmmaker Ken Burns, the man often credited as being the greatest documentary storyteller to have ever lived, thanks of his ability to bring American history to life via PBS’s record-breaking series such as THE CIVIL WAR, BASEBALL and THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE HISTORY. His titles account for 80% of all PBS America’s UK DVD sales from a fledgling catalogue that now features over 100 Region 2 releases.

To mark the channel’s launch on Freesat, PBS America is scheduling a special Ken Burns Season that will run for six weeks from 1st November. Titles being showcased to the Freesat audience for the first time include THE CIVIL WAR (re-mastered 25th anniversary version), PROHIBITION, THE WEST, JACK JOHNSON: UNFORGIVABLE BLACKNESS, FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT, THOMAS JEFFERSON, HORATIO’S DRIVE, STATUE OF LIBERTY, and BROOKLYN BRIDGE.

Other launch and fourth birthday programming for viewers to look forward to includes:
LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM (premieres 8pm, Sunday 1 November) – Rory Kennedy’s Oscar-nominated factual feature documentary examines the final days of American presence in Saigon and the heroic efforts to help evacuate 135,000 South Vietnamese.

SPY AT THE HANOI HILTON (premieres 10.15pm, Monday 2 November) – This film shares a remarkable story of the American POWs that alerted the CIA and Pentagon to the horrors of the Vietnamese prison camps and prompted a daring, top-secret rescue mission.

TIME TEAM: AMERICA (premieres weekdays at 6.35pm from 10 November) – Part extreme adventure, part science and part reality show, this US spin-off of the popular Channel 4 series takes viewers into the trenches of America’s most intriguing archaeological sites.

JFK AND LBJ: A TIME FOR GREATNESS (premieres 10.15pm, 20 November) – In many ways, President Lyndon B Johnson was the most unlikely champion of Civil Rights. This film is the fascinating story of a president who knew how to harness the nation’s grief over John F Kennedy’s assassination, twist arms, and get his way.

LINCOLN’S LAST DAY (premieres 9pm, Friday 27 November) – This new documentary is a gripping account of one of the most dramatic nights in American history–of how one gunshot changed the country forever.

Share