PBS KIDS goes ’round the clock

PBS KIDS took large digital strides this year to improve program accessibility across its platforms. When the pubcaster’s 24/7 broadcast channel was unveiled in early 2017, it fell in step with a live stream available on its website and the PBS KIDS App. A few months later, PBS KIDS released a COPPA-certified Plug & Play streaming stick loaded with sing-alongs, exclusive games and videos. When connected to the internet, the stick provides subscription-free access to more than 100 hours of on-demand programming.

“Kids are on so many different platforms now, and they’re finding and expecting content on any screen,” says Sara Dewitt, VP of digital at PBS KIDS. “So we want to make sure we can be accessible in any way. We’re always thinking about how new technology is giving us an opportunity to engage in more play with our viewers and connect with kids who we might not otherwise be able reach with deep interactive content.” Aided by a grant from the US Department of Education, PBS has been researching how to use data to improve learning for kids, as well as incorporating more personalization in game play. This led to the release of Fish Force, based on the digital series Ruff Ruffman. The online game adjusts timing, force and aim based on a child’s abilities, and PBS now is working on a suite of offerings using this adaptive back-end technology that will begin rolling out in spring 2018.

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