One of my favorite television channels of all time is PBS, or the Public Broadcasting Service. I was brought up on this channel, with shows like Barney and Friends, Sesame Street, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and The Puzzle Place. I always enjoyed the entertaining characters and stories, but when I see what kind of other content is out there for the younger audience, I fully appreciate the educational value of the PBS shows.
Well, it turns out they are much more ahead of the high-tech game than I would have expected. I found an article on ReadWriteWeb about PBS’ effort to be a “a multi-platform media leader”. The article touched on all of the software, applications, and innovations that PBS has made in order to reach children (and their parents) in a more effective way.
Little to my knowledge, PBS already has an interactive PBS KIDS’ website. This interested me because I was literally obsessed with educational, hands-on computer games as a kid, and was curious about the evolution of eLessons. Here is a screen shot of their PBSKids website, which features their most popular programming ever, even that of MY childhood!
PBS KIDS also has iPhone and iPad Apps for both children and adults. As the article states, the company is making an effort to make their content more available to adults as well. The article featured Jason Seiken, Senior VP of Product Development and Innovation for PBS Interactive, who said:
We know from research that there’s a massive number of people who love the PBS brand but not all of them tune-in regularly because they’re leading busy lives. Our strategy is to make it convenient for them to access and sample PBS video online and on mobile.
By reaching out to adults, they are strengthening the PBS brand and making it so that their content is less likely to go unseen. This is an incredibly intelligent move for PBS, seeing as the most influential people for a child are their parents/guardians. If a parent sees programming they like on the PBS media player, they are more likely to come home at night and turn on a channel they know will be reliable and educational.
There are TONS of iPhone apps for parents and children to choose from for their “on-the-go” educational experience. These learning activities are structured so that they are quick, yet fun, so that children will ask Mommy for her iPhone on their ride to school so they can play with their favorite characters!
One of the more popular iPhone applications is named after the series “SUPER WHY!”, and is mainly focused on developing literacy in young children. The App features four of the main characters of the show, Alpha Pig, Princess Presto, Wonder Red, and Super Why, who personally guide the child through many different spelling, writing, and reading challenges. You can see a complete demo in the video below!
In all, I think this new tactic is exciting and effective. If I had an iPhone (which hopefully I will soon) I would look into downloading some of both the adult and kids apps!
Have you tried out these apps yet? Do you think this is an effective way for PBS to reach their target audience?