Wednesday, February 16, 2005

PBS Hurting?

The NY Times places the Postcards From Buster flap deep inside the context of the network's greater challenges. As in so many other industries, one of the greatest issues is money.

Among the challenges that Ms. Mitchell has confronted is a trend, lasting nearly a decade, in which corporations have scaled back on the so-called "image advertising" through which they had once financed programs like "Masterpiece Theater." According to PBS's financial statements, revenues drawn from program underwriting - which are paid directly to producers, but catalogued by PBS reached a five-year peak of $221.9 million in 2001, dropped to $179.4 million in 2003, and rebounded slightly to $184.3 million last year.

The piece also examines what some critics call PBS' lurch to the right, with the network airing political shows hosted by Tucker Carlson, among others.