PBS announced it will launch a 24-hour television channel for kids this fall. Bring on the Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood at all hours of the day! And, um, especially when I'm making dinner and need a hot minute.
The company's president and CEO Paula Kerger explained the impetus for the decision to expand in a press release, saying, "Parents know that PBS KIDS makes a difference in their children's lives, which is why so many have said they would value having access to our content throughout the day." She added: "Television continues to be the most widely used platform for children's educational content, especially among low-income families. The new PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and live stream offered by local member stations ensure that educational media is available to all families, all the time and via a platform that works for them. Given that 54 percent of all children nationwide do not have the opportunity to attend preschool, providing access is a critical element of our public service mission."
In addition to the channel, parents will also have the ability to stream shows online at PBSKids.org, where kids can try out cool new integrated game content, and via the PBS KIDS Video App when it comes out later this year.
The 24/7 channel will be in addition to the main channel that shows kids' programming at certain times of day, giving our kids more options to watch what they want. As every parent knows, children become quite passionately opinionated when it comes to TV.
In addition to favorite standby shows like Wild Kratts and Dinosaur Train, a new show from The Jim Henson Company, tentatively called Splash, will make its debut on the channel, something I'm personally very excited about. If it's anything like my childhood favorite show Fraggle Rock, I think we have a winner.
According to Newsweek, other future initiatives will incorporate STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) content and tools to customize kids' experiences with the channel.
Clearly this new direction comes from a desire to be competitive with other streaming offerings for children from Netflix and Amazon. And it's giving me one more reason to tell my kids they've had the TV on for too long! Not that television is bad, but a little goes a long way, in my opinion.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.