Almost two years following its afternoon Go! block launch for the six to eight year old set, PBS Kids is expanding its reach into digital as part of its five-year Next Generation Media initiative. Set to bow in October, the PBS Kids Go! 24-hour commercial-free channel will pluck programming from the afternoon terrestrial block, adding new shows and blocks as it gets off the ground.
The in-house hybrid game show/reality series Fetch! will capture digital airtime in October following its launch this month on PBS proper. Other additions include athletic showcase series Kidsworld Sports (Breakthrough, Tele Images Kids and Fresh Produce), HIT Entertainment’s literacy series Wishbone and the now-classic Kratts’ Creatures from Paragon Entertainment. In 2007, PorchLight and Burberry’s CGI series Animalia will premiere on the diginet’s sked.
Looking to capture the attention of the growing U.S. Spanish-speaking population, the new channel plans to feature a one-hour block called Vayan (which means go in Spanish). Hispanic viewers currently make up 12.5% of PBS Kids daytime viewership and Vayan should help super-serve this audience with sub-titled versions of Maya & Miguel and Cyberchase.
An evening co-viewing block is also in the works. Programming hasn’t yet been nailed down for the primetime schedule, but Go! Family’s aim is to get parents watching with their kids. The channel is also scheduling a one-hour educational block called Go! Figure to explore curriculum themes such as science, and tie its lessons to on-line resources for teachers to use.
The Next Generation Media initiative launched last year to map out ways the broadcaster could reach viewers via linear and non-linear channels. The new digital plans for October will be supported on established website www.pbskidsgo.org. In the meantime, PBS is in advanced talks with cable and digital operators to get the channel into U.S. homes.