Select PBS stations coming to YouTube TV

Select stations are coming to YouTube TV starting in November 2019.

  • PBS announced in July that it had reached an agreement to bring member stations to the TV service owned by Google.
  • Individual stations will have the option whether to participate or not.
  • The deal reportedly includes both PBS stations and the PBS Kids cable channel.
  • YouTube TV is reportedly rolling out access to PBS stations market by market (where it has agreements with the local member station).
  • It’s not immediately clear what member stations will be added (or when) or which ones have opted not to participate.
  • It’s also not immediately clear if the standalone cable channel PBS Kids will be available in all markets (PBS Kids is also the name of a programming block that PBS member stations air).
  • PBS will also be available via YouTube TV’s On Demand feature, though it’s not clear if this is only in markets where the local station is available.
  • MixDex has reached out to PBS for clarification.

The road to getting PBS stations on YouTube was a bit bumpy because PBS is unique in that its stations are not technically affiliates, so they have more independence when it comes to their programming choices.

  • Many of these stations carry a significant amount of programming produced or distributed by PBS, however, so getting PBS to agree to streaming rights to its programs was an important first step.
  • The move was delayed further because PBS had to get a decent number of its member stations to agree to stream their local feed.
  • Many local PBS affiliates also produce their own local programming, which would require the station (or production company) to give the OK to stream.