PBS weighs balance between free, premium access for launch of Plus

PBS is preparing for a pilot run of Membership Video on Demand, a premium service for station contributors, under the new name PBS Plus. The service will be structured to preserve a window of free access to program streams on PBS.org and to protect stations’ member data, according to Tom Davidson, PBS senior director of digital strategies, during a session at the NETA Professional Development Conference, Oct. 20–22 in Dallas. PBS Plus will go into soft launch in the spring for existing members at seven test stations. Under the full kickoff scheduled for late summer 2015, stations nationwide can begin marketing it to new members.

Pubcasters can follow example of Texas Tribune, says editor-in-chief

ADDISON, Texas — More than one-third of the roughly 300 attendees at the annual National Educational Telecommunications Association’s professional development conference this week are first-timers, making for one of the most crowded Newcomers Welcome sessions in years. And those newbies have plenty of sessions to choose from at the conference, which runs through Wednesday at the Hotel InterContinental in this Dallas suburb. Topics include development, collaborations, marketing, community engagement, FCC regulations, education, promotion — one session even analyzes the “complex, arcane” structure of the public broadcasting system. The conference opened Monday with keynote speaker Evan Smith, editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune, addressing the power of public conversation. The nonprofit newsroom in Austin, which celebrates its fifth anniversary in two weeks, was “invented more or less on the fly,” Smith said, as newspapers in the state withered.

Aviators distributor scrutinizing show after revelations of apparent product placement

The public TV program The Aviators has come under increased scrutiny from its distributor after Current revealed apparent product placement in the show’s on-air segments. Executive Producer Anthony Nalli removed a sponsorship page from the program’s website earlier this month after Current inquired about promises that sponsors could “expertly integrate their brands directly into the content of the show in a subtle, non-invasive and very effective manner.” Other pages on the site made similar offers. Nalli said the matter was a misunderstanding over wording. “I used the language of advertising, not of public television,” Nalli said.

Via Aviators website, opportunities for product placement

Producers of The Aviators, a public TV series distributed by the National Educational Telecommunications Association, devoted a page of the program website to videos depicting opportunities for product placements by sponsors. The web page was removed after Current inquired about the unusual sponsorship marketing. Screenshots from the page are presented here. In an email to Current, Executive Producer Anthony Nalli explained the marketing strategies behind the descriptions and how FourPoints Television Productions worked with sponsors. Nalli writes:  “Any time aviation gives back to the community, that’s the kind of positive message we feel is important to convey as part of the core mission of The Aviators.”


Nalli: This example referred “not so much a marketing point as it was a concern was that we would sensationalize their aircraft’s accident history.

Nine Network of St. Louis recognized as ‘Best of the Best’ in 2012 NETA Awards

The St. Louis public TV station’s Nine Academy, a program that trains individuals and community organizations to produce short videos on stories of “community impact,” received special recognition among the awards presented during NETA’s recent conference in St. Louis. In honoring the academy as the top winner in its annual awards program, NETA cited the station for groundbreaking community work. NETA recognized 20 public TV stations in 30 categories spread across four divisions — community engagement, content production, instructional media and promotion.

Output: Bitton’s homage to Piaf, STEM rock tunes from PBS, where 5-year-olds hide evidence (on PRX), and more

Decades ago, a teenaged Raquel Bitton locked herself in her San Francisco bedroom, suffering miserably from her first broken heart. Her only comfort was an album by Edith Piaf, the diminutive French chanteuse known as “the Little Sparrow.”

“It is the love that you love,” Piaf sang in “C’est L’amour.” “It is love that makes you dream. It is love that wants love. It is love that makes us cry.”

“I listened to it all and came out of my room with a decision to get onstage and sing — and to love again,” Bitton said. “I put together a little revue singing Piaf’s songs, telling pieces of her stories.

NETA partners with Coke bottler for station health insurance

After several years of work, the National Educational Telecommunications Association announced Feb. 23 that it is offering group health-insurance coverage plans to pubcasters. So far, 70 TV and radio licensees representing nearly 2,900 individuals are participating in the initiative. NETA is partnering with the Coca-Cola Bottlers Association to provide the coverage through that company’s Alliance of Professional Service Organizations (APSO) subsidiary. APSO currently serves nearly 300 employers, including the majority of the soft-drink bottlers and more than 200 other organizations, covering nearly 25,000 individuals.

National Educational Telecommunications Association Bylaws

NETA, a successor of Southern Educational Communications Association, provides a range of services to public TV professionals and stations, including program distribution, specialized councils for the various disciplines in stations, and an annual conference. It is based in Columbia, S.C.
The purpose of the Corporation is exclusively educational: to develop, exchange, and share on a nonprofit basis the educational, instructional, and cultural resources of and with participating members of the Corporation so as to assist the development of instructional, educational, and cultural activities of educational television and radio stations: to produce, distribute, or otherwise exploit, or any combination thereof, for broadcast by radio, television, or otherwise, or any combination thereof, material which is instructional to the public on subjects useful to the individual and beneficial to the community; to further the utilization of other forms of electronic communications of educational material; to aid in developing and implementing interstate exchange of instructional, educational, or cultural material designed or intended for broadcast by radio, television, or otherwise, or any combination thereof; and to aid in developing and implementing interstate exchange of materials and information relating to the educational use of electronic communications. In the event of dissolution of the Corporation, the residual assets thereof will be conveyed or transferred to one or more organizations which are exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, or any successor section thereto; or to the Federal Government or to a state or local government, for public purposes exclusively. ARTICLE II: Membership
Section 1. The Corporation may accept for membership any eligible organization, agency, or individual, if such membership is consistent with the basic purposes of the Corporation.