PBS announced this morning it will launch the first-ever national 24/7 PBS Kids channel, provided by member stations across the country on TV and via live streaming on digital platforms. The free service, will feature educational programming throughout the day, including primetime, weekends and other out-of-school times.
One hundred eight PBS licensees are expected to launch the PBS KIDS channel on TV by the end of the year, making it available to 90% of U.S. TV households; 75 licensees will debut the channel tomorrow, January 16; additional licensees are expected to roll it out in the coming months. The channel also will be available as a live stream on pbskids.org and on the free PBS KIDS Video App for mobile and tablet devices.
“As the only free national 24/7 kids’ TV service in the U.S., the PBS KIDS channel will be a game changer for all families – especially our nation’s most underserved, many of whom do not attend preschool and rely solely on over-the-air television for media content,” PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger said in the announcement.
Later this year, the live stream will introduce an integrated games feature, enabling children to toggle between a PBS KIDS show and an activity that extends learning.
Beginning Friday, April 21, 2017, the new channel will debut “PBS KIDS Family Night,” weekly family viewing events featuring movie specials or themed programming every Friday from 7 to 9 pm, and repeating on Saturday and Sunday evenings. “Family Night” will kick off with popular movie favorites such as Odd Squad: The Movie, Splash and Bubble: One Big Ocean, and Sesame Street: The Cookie Thief, and will include world premiere movie events such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Tiger Family Trap, Wild Kratts Alaska: Heroe’s Journey, and Arthur and the Haunted Treehouse.
Stations will provide the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel in addition to their current primary PBS channel, which will continue to feature a PBS KIDS day part. The schedule of children’s programming on the primary PBS channel will be different from the 24/7 channel.