PBS America – the UK arm of the US public broadcaster PBS, which originally launched in November 2011 as PBS UK – is on the move.
The channel has today announced that it will be moving slots on Sky’s EPG (electronic program guide) as of July 24th. The move was made possible after PBS America struck a unique deal with UKTV. Under the terms of said deal PBS America will move from its current slot (166) to 534 (a slot currently occupied by a SD variant of UKTV’s Eden channel following the shut down of Blighty) and allow UKTV’s newest channel Drama move up the EPG from from 291 to 166. The deal between the two companies was brokered by PBS America’s General Manager Richard Kingsbury (himself a former UKTV exec) and UKTV’s Head of Commercial Development Dan Fahy.
The relocation of PBS America from the Entertainment section to the Doumentaries section of Sky’s EPG comes after the channel has its best ever performing month this past June when PBS America moved up 25 places in the channel ranks to break into the Top 100 channels for the very first time and saw 100% year-on-year growth, with a 0.04% share compared to a 0.02% share at the same time last year. It’s easy to see why such a move makes sense. PBS America showcases history, science, arts and culture programming – clearly more suited to the factual category and such a move is thought to likely lead to an increase in viewership.
“Over the last 12 months, we’ve doubled our share on both Sky and Virgin Media, but our absolute share on cable is disproportionately higher”, said Richard Kingsbury, General Manager of PBS America. “The fact that we’re already in Virgin’s Factual section suggests that we’ll really benefit from a move into Documentaries on Sky. This exciting development enables us to instantly make PBS America more visible to factual viewers looking for our type of well-crafted, in-depth and engaging content.”
Meanwhile, the move of UKTV’s recently launched Drama channel up the EPG from 291 to 166 comes after the successful launch of the channel earlier this month. Drama has been achieving a 0.63% share in its first week and reached over three million adults. Jonathan Creek has been its highest rating show so far attracting 0.33 million viewers on Friday 12 July.
“Drama now has an EPG position which will enable Sky viewers to easily access Britain’s most high profile dramas and the array of stellar talent that the channel provides. I’m delighted that Drama is receiving the prominence it deserves on the Sky platform”, said Keith Porritt, Executive Director of Commercial for UKTV.