Touted as the first fully interactive broadcast service in the U.S., PBS Kids Channel is hitting airwaves in September. The 24-hour, all-digital channel will be available for local broadcast to all member stations, featuring such shows as Teletubbies, Barney & Friends, Wishbone, Wimzie’s House, Noddy and Zoboomafoo. The channel’s launch is part of a larger PBS Kids initiative to provide more funds for original kids programming and Internet content.
The channel’s interactivity will be developed through related content on the PBS Online Web site, as well as through interactive shows such as Zoboomafoo, a preschool wildlife series created by Chris and Martin Kratt. Regular episodes of the show debuted in January, and the first four ‘enhanced’ episodes are launching on PBS Kids later this year. Enhanced episodes, developed in conjunction with Intel, will feature puzzles and games simultaneously transmitted to personal computers capable of receiving digital signals.
PBS also announced that it raised US$12.2 million in program sponsorships for the fourth quarter of 1998, a 58% increase over the US$7.5 million raised in the same quarter a year earlier.