Online video has been the main focus of PBS' online video strategy the past few years and now it finally has a classy showcase to match its high-minded programming. The public broadcaster is pulling up the curtain on the PBS Video Portal, which will have "thousands of hours" of national and local content. Ultimately, the portal will run feature-length films and documentaries, as well as live events and performances.
In the meantime, instead of watching Charlie Rose and or Antiques Roadshow on PBS' tiny player, users can scan the very Hulu-looking wide screen for just about all of the broadcaster's regular series. Aside from the resemblance, the PBS Video Portal also has a "share function." Coincidentally, perhaps, the launch occurs on Earth Day. Since this is PBS, the portal will highlight a spate of environmental shows. Also, PBS.org will run the premiere episode of Oregon Public Broadcasting's archeology-themed series Time Team America before its TV debut this summer.
The expanded video portal follows last September's introduction of the PBS Kids Go Video Player. That player is still a priority. PBS has added interactive games and claims to be streaming more than one million video clips each week.
By David Kaplan