Ads on Public TV?

  • Ads on Public TV?
    USA Today reports that the FCC is considering allowing public TV stations to run advertising and subscription based services on their digital HDTV channels. Supposedly, the ad and suscription revenue is needed to finance the transition to digital. But, then, doesn’t that really make these stations commercial? Where’s the public — do the tax and membership dollars then just go to provide the foundation for a new advertising medium?

    Of course, this makes the assumption that there isn’t already advertising on public TV. Sure, there isn’t the ad barrage we’re accustomed to on commercial TV, but nonetheless there are 15-30 second mini-ads run at the top and bottom of many public TV shows right now, that clearly look like commercials. Astonishingly, these are most prevalent during children’s programming, like Sesame Street and Barney. Given all the merchandise and toys associated with these programs, it’s hard to see them as anything but commercials disguised as shows in the first place.


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