PBS announces second web-based arts program

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PBS is launching on March 14 a new series on YouTube, Idea Channel, which it calls an “irreverent, personality-driven” project that “examines the unique places where art, culture, technology and the Internet intersect.” Hosting will be Mike Rugnetta, a composer, programmer and performer who is part of  MemeFactory, a three-man performance group exploring Internet culture.

Off Book, another PBS web-only series focusing on experimental and nontraditional forms of artistic expression, began its second season Wednesday (March 7). Off Book launched in fall 2011 as part of the PBS Arts initiative and over the course of 13 episodes generated more than a half million views on YouTube, PBS said.

“These series are part of our strategy to reach new audiences with online video that is compelling and highly sharable,” said Jason Seiken, PBS s.v.p. interactive, product development and innovation. “Our hope is that consumers continue to discover PBS not only as a source for great television content, but also as a source for unique, web-only video that they can enjoy wherever they are.”