New Public Media Venture Group will exploit potential of ATSC 3.0

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Public Media Co. is assembling a Public Media Venture Group of stations to explore the mission and revenue potentials of ATSC 3.0, the upcoming broadcast protocol known as Next Generation TV.

The group will work on issues including technology, local public service expansion and revenue-generating joint ventures and partnerships. The internet-based ATSC 3.0 will give broadcasters enhanced audio and video capabilities and new ways of interacting with viewers.

“Stations participating in the Public Media Venture Group believe that Next Gen TV is just as exciting for public television stations as it is for commercial television,” said Public Media Co. CEO Marc Hand in an announcement Thursday.

“The new technology offers public television stations the opportunity to create innovative and exciting new public services, to improve operations, save costs, generate new revenue and invest more money in content and services that will better serve local communities,” Hand said.

Public Media Co. convened a series of meetings on ATSC 3.0 last year that yielded ideas for the venture group. Hand envisions a threefold focus: assembling station resources for the upcoming ATSC 3.0 transition, serving as a product-development hub for a range of revenue and mission-related ideas, and negotiating deals with commercial broadcasters and other entities seeking ATSC 3.0–related partnerships with public media stations.

Hand’s organization has joined the Advanced Television Systems Committee Inc., the international nonprofit developing the voluntary standard, “for more direct access to information,” he said. Public Media Co. also will become active in ATSC subcommittees of interest to public broadcasters, such as emergency alerts.

Hand is also talking with Pearl TV, the organization of commercial broadcasters exploring possibilities for the new protocol.

So far 18 public broadcasters are taking part in the Public Media Venture Group: Alabama Public Television; Iowa Public Television; Mississippi Public Broadcasting; Nebraska Network; Utah Education Network; KCET in Los Angeles; KVIE in Sacramento, Calif.; Nine Network in St. Louis; Rocky Mountain PBS in Denver; UNC-TV in North Carolina; Vegas PBS; WCTE in Cookeville, Tenn.; WFYI in Indianapolis; WGBH in Boston; WJCT in Jacksonville, Fla.; WNET in New York City; WOSU in Columbus, Ohio; and WTTW in Chicago.

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