Young insomniacs are in luck: PBS is launching an around-the-clock channel for children this fall.
The free, 24-hour channel will provide child-friendly fare during prime-time and other periods that draw kids, said Paula Kerger, PBS’ chief executive. Member stations now get up to 12 hours daily of kids’ programming from PBS.
The service also will be available online as a live stream on the pbskids.org website and on the PBS Kids video app for mobile devices and platforms such as Roku and Apple TV. Within about three months, a live-stream component will be added to allow children to toggle between a show and an online activity that extends learning, Kerger said.
PBS’ announcement comes amid a flurry of growth in children’s programming on TV and the Internet, with heavyweight players including Netflix, HBO and Amazon.
“Although we’re proud of everything we’ve done in early childhood education, we feel there’s more that can be done,” Kerger said. The combined TV-plus-online approach builds on PBS’ robust on-demand offerings, she said, but also is mindful of children in homes that rely on “good old-fashioned television.”
“We, like everyone else, are following that kids are in many different places,” she said.
Public TV stations reach more youngsters ages 2 to 5 and more from low-income families than any other children’s network, PBS said. Both parents and stations were asking for additional programming, Kerger said.