Can Apple TV save PBS ?

As funding for PBS continues to dry up at the whims of politicians there may be a silver lining in Apple’s TV new service

First a little history for our younger readers. Once upon a time the beginning of cable television offered up some great promise for premium content programming. Premium channels like The Alpha Repertory Television Service — or ARTS & The Entertainment Channel which merged to become A&E , Bravo, American Movie Classics (Now AMC) before these channels went commercial and turned into what they are now they were an attempt to capture the the dollars of the more ” sophisticated tastebuds”. They all premiered with wonderful content from operas to concerts and plays but one by one they disappeared into the mess we call cable tv. The reason for their failure can be traced to many different problems including the wild west like environment at the birth of the industry , poor planning, competition, confused public, or lack of interest.


With the introduction of streaming service there exists a chance to bring back channels like that who can then rely on viewer support to find success. I believe it also provides a unique opportunity for Public Broadcasting Stations to supplement their funding from a subscription service. Like the current app found on Apple TV viewers could pick their local stations and subscribe with a monthly fee of say $3.99 with proceeds split between local station and a national fund. Hopefully freeing them up from their fund raising drives.

Here’s an idea for Apple to move Apple TV forward

20131116-181520.jpg< ! While Apple tries to navigate the television and movie business industry, here is an idea that may acts as a Trojan horse. Apple should let PBS develop an app for the Apple TV.

This move would allow Apple to avoid dealing in all the network muck , provide a quality viewing experience , provide a proof of concept for other channels , attract a new demographic and serve the public good by raising hard to find revenue for public television.

Unlike other channels PBS is a station that is required by the FCC to be carried on their systems so cable companies can not threaten to pull them off air. For that matter Apple should also let Cspan be carried as well.

I would be someone who would pay say $5.50 a month to subscribe to a live feed of Public TV.