We all know the public media landscape is rapidly changing. We have entered what’s known as the “user-centric period” of media consumption. 

PBS linear-only viewing has fallen from ~60% in 2018 to ~30% in 2024, and viewers have more options than ever to consume content. As many of us heard this week at the PBS Annual Meeting, as hard as we try to promote the PBS App and the great programming on it, it is unlikely to ever successfully compete with apps like Netflix or Disney+ 

Media consumers use between 11-15 media sources, but only 5-7 platforms are considered “must-haves.” Unfortunately, the PBS App is not on this list of must-haves for most viewers. 

What Can Stations Do To Successfully Reach Viewers?

YouTube is the #1 app on connected TV, and it has the second-highest share of total viewing  

This is where a major opportunity exists for PBS Stations. There are 53+ million monthly viewers of PBS channels on YouTube. 67% of viewers in the 35+ demographic consider YouTube a “must-have” channel. As people age, they take their habits with them: creating a strong first impression helps establish a life-long audience. 

The rich video content that PBS stations produce provides an incredible point of invitation. This is especially critical for acquiring new prospect audiences unfamiliar with public media: YouTube accounted for nearly 10% of total viewing in April 2024. 

How Can My Station Capture Audiences on YouTube?

NextGen is working with several stations to expand reach to new and diverse prospect audiences. One of our key focus areas for FY25 is supporting clients with digital paid advertising, namely YouTube pre-roll Ads.  

YouTube pre-roll Ads are short video snippets that play before the main content video. These play automatically and, in many cases, audiences must watch the entire ad. Opportunities to engage with this captive audience abound.  

Digital audiences are savvy, and the current user-centric nature of digital streaming plays to the strengths of public media. PBS is built on trust and authenticity: your station’s powerful content and perspectives touch the hearts of your respective communities.  

Which Comes First, the Plan or the Budget?

As you begin developing your plan for the next year and mapping out your budget, the reality is that you are dealing with “chickens and eggs.” Your plan will inform your budget but your budget (how much you can raise and spend) will inform your plan:

If you would like to invest in a new unproven online fundraising effort but you can’t get budget approval, you’ll have to change your plan.

If you plan to focus on lapsed re-engagement, this should be reflected in how you allocate expenses in your budget.

Make sure your plan and budget are aligned, what you say you want to do should be seen in your annual revenue and expenses. Budgeting is a balancing act, but also a right-brain/left-brain exercise: do the math but also carve out time to be creative and identify new audiences, opportunities, and investments.

How Can NextGen Help Your Station?

NextGen’s team of certified experts provides turn-key digital advertising across a channel mix tailored to your content and goals. We provide a full-funnel approach based on delivering value, not just soliciting donations.  

Video continues to be one of the fastest-growing forms of Ad format. We ensure you are matching pace, cultivating diverse audiences, and producing measurable overall lift across channels. 

Fill out our contact form or reach us directly at digital@nextgenfr.com to get started today.