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PBS considers putting shows online

Shows such as ‘Frontline’ and ‘Nature’ would be available for downloading
/ Source: Reuters

The Public Broadcasting System is considering making its television shows available on the Internet or portable devices like MP3 players, its new president and chief executive officer said Monday.

PBS is also weighing whether to partner with technology companies, in the same way that Walt Disney Co. has teamed up with Apple Computer Inc. to sell episodes of some of its ABC television network series on iTunes for downloading to iPods, CEO Paula Kerger said.

“My goal in running PBS is that no matter what choice consumers in the digital age decide to do ... we recognize the need to make content available to any of those platforms, and right now we’re moving in that direction,” Kerger said at a luncheon sponsored by the Media Institute.

She also pointed to PBS’s archive of educational shows like “Nature,” “Frontline” and other documentaries as a possible resource that could be accessed “anytime, anywhere.”

She said some PBS stations already make some shows available free on the Internet but that depends on broadcast rights, which can vary. She noted that PBS does not have the financial resources available to commercial broadcasters.

“So I think we probably will look at partnerships,” she told reporters after the speech. She said initial discussions were under way with possible corporate partners, but PBS was trying to figure out the right direction.

Kerger pointed to podcasting already done by the “Newshour with Jim Lehrer,” but noted that news largely has a limited shelf life.

“I think we will not do a full flung leap into any one area. I think we’ll start to experiment and I think we’ll experiment along the product that seems to make the most sense,” she said.