Vme is not the only public TV multicast channel that’s gaining traction with viewers. Create and World, channels featuring how-to shows and public affairs programs, have the widest carriage and remain the most popular.
Although audience data on PTV multicast channels is limited — in part because only 20 stations are able to subscribe to ratings services for their channels — viewership has grown 18 percent over the past four years, according to TRAC Media, which provides ratings analyses to local pubcasters.
Lifestyle-oriented Create is the most dominant of the three channels. Since its national launch via APT distribution 10 years ago, it has secured carriage on 106 licensees and now reaches 78 percent of television households. World, a nonfiction-focused channel presenting public affairs shows, documentaries and international fare, runs on 68 licensees covering nearly 62 percent of households. Since a 2010 revamp that tailored World’s line-up for younger, ethnically diverse viewers, its carriage has grown by 50 percent.
Both channels are distributed by APT and produced with Boston’s WGBH and New York’s WNET. The National Educational Telecommunications Association and PBS also participate as partners.
APT will soon provide more support to stations that carry Create. During last month’s Fall Marketplace conference in San Diego, President Cynthia Fenneman told programmers that Create is developing a local underwriting kit, pledge tools, web-only content, customized marketing materials and an e-newsletter for viewers. Programmers have scheduled weekend marathons of popular programs, kicking off Dec. 13 and 14 with the Globe Trekker travel show. Create is also premiering new shows such as Islands Without Cars, a six-episode series that travels to remote outposts where vehicle traffic is forbidden, and Fit 2 Stitch, a sewing program.
World’s General Manager Liz Cheng told Marketplace attendees that the channel is especially strong with younger and multicultural viewers, citing an analysis from WGBH audience research. More than half of the viewers tuning to two of its signature series — America ReFramed, an independent film showcase; and Local, USA, a co-production with Chicago’s WTTW featuring pubTV station content — are 18 to 49 years old, Cheng said.
Stations continue to add World to their channel lineups. WQED in Pittsburgh announced last week that it will begin airing World Jan. 1.