Hi, thank you for bringing your question to Google Answers.
Just for background, I produce and market animal videos on DVD and I
worked both behind the camera and on air for two PBS stations and used
to work for a major Public TV/PBS station (WGBH) but that was many
years ago, actually 1968-1970 when PBS was being founded, so the
information below is mostly taken from new online research.
Your questions about segment length is not addressed in the PBS
guidelines and you would probably need to do some editing after
?selling? the project to PBS. The actual length they need will depend
on how the films are used.
Just as with submitting a book proposal, you should NOT expect to
provide a finished, ready-to-run video to PBS for syndication in your
initial contact. That may sound unprofessional, but the program
directors won?t expect this either; they will want to work with you to
some extent so don?t attempt to tailor it ?exactly? to fit the
station?s needs until someone there has seen it and given you their
specific ideas for editing.
I have provided the URLs for the information you need, but the PBS.org
server (220.127.116.11) was down when I tried to make contact so I
have provided links to very recent Google caches of the same pages
which you can use until the originating server is back up.
You don?t need to begin by approaching individual stations in the U.S.
because PBS is a syndication organization for all PBS member stations.
For a general interest program you should probably start with PBS but
if you have a lot of local content you may wish to begin by submitting
to your local station and ONLY after (if) your proposal is rejected by
PBS should you contact any station other than your local PBS affiliate
(in any case you should contact the local program director for advice
at first.) This is a suggestion based on what I think would be the
most efficient approach (remembering that I worked for a PBS
affiliate.) If you have the resources to approach every station
individually as well as PBS and keep track of any agreements, then
that approach could work.
Here is what PBS has to say on the subject:
?Since PBS stations broadcast their own local programming in addition
to national programming, program proposals with a local or regional
focus often find more success at the local station level. Some
producers of national programming also choose to submit proposals to
local stations, since PBS partners with local stations on a variety of
projects for the national program schedule. Producers should contact
the local station's program director for more information on
programming priorities and proposal submission processes.?
There wouldn?t be any problem with submitting locally first, but it
will save time to start at the top.
You should begin by sending a proposal, or submitting your tapes to:
Vice President, Program Scheduling & Editorial Management
1320 Braddock Place
Alexandria, VA 22314
phone: (703) 739-5150
fax: (703) 739-5295
In your case (with a finished program) you will need to submit an NTSC
format DVD or a VHS tape in either PAL or NTSC format.
>They will need information on how it was funded.
>You will need to explain what rights you are offering.
Those points are in addition to an extensive checklist of other
information you will need to submit. I can?t quote that extensively in
this format so you will need to look at their site.
After you submit your proposal it will take about a month for a response.
Here is a Google cache of the document from just a few days ago
Before you do submit, you should look at a PBS Submission Release form
If you have trouble loading that, here is the Google cache of the document
This has a considerable amount of useful information which gives you a
good place to start planning.
The fact that it is already available for previewing should be a big positive.
You should also look over the PS Greenlighting Process to gain a
better understanding of what will happen with your proposal.
PBS also has a Producer FAQ
A guide to Content Priorities
This contains important guidelines as to what PBS needs and therefore
what you will want to address in your proposal.
It also provides a guide to the odds against you.
There are about 846 hours of national primetime programming available
through PBS in an average year. Of that, 500 hours are already taken
up by major station productions such as my own old station?s Mystery,
Masterpiece Theatre, and Nova.
For those remaining hours there are about 3,000 submissions annually
consisting of 10,000 plus hours of programming.
That is why you want to have a talk with a local PBS program director
before going beyond reading the guidelines which I have provided links
to. A local programming executive will have a better idea of what
space is available, if your project fits, and even if the local
station may want to push your project to PBS.
Your program might also be suitable for a fund raising segment.
To locate all 349 full power local PBS affiliate stations, go to
Google Search Term
PBS Submission Format
For further information,
A worldwide media guide
More third-party information on PBS ? buy the way, I checked the data
for WGBH and it was very accurate so you can probably test these
List of North American TV stations (777 UHF, 589 VHF commercial, 257
UHF educational, 125 VHF educational.) This includes U.S. and Canadian
stations (many of which would be English speaking) and southern
stations which may carry some English programming or be willing to dub
in another language.
As you can see from the numbers, it isn?t practical to upload the
information about every station here.
PBS stations alone are listed at
TV Stations by U.S. State
www.mondotimes.com has links for local media around the world and
offers downloadable media lists.
There are also other public TV distributors:
?However, PBS is not the only distributor of public television
programming to the member stations. Other distributors have emerged
from the roots of the old companies that had loosely held regional
public television stations in the 1960s. Boston-based American Public
Television (former names include Eastern Educational Network and
American Program Service) is second only to PBS for distributing
programs to U.S. non-commercial stations. Another distributor is NETA
(formerly SECA), whose properties have included The Shapies and Jerry
Yarnell School of Fine Art. In addition, the member stations
themselves also produce a variety of local shows, some of which
subsequently receive national distribution through PBS or the other
I doubt these would meet your needs but you might want to check them
out if you don?t catch on with PBS.
Also, although the numbers look very bad for primetime public TV,
there are always weekend days and every night which may be a better
time slot for your project.
Best of luck, I hope you found this report meets your needs.
The only thing I didn?t really address was how long the segments
should be and how many ?sections? (episodes?) are most popular. I
believe I explained why this isn?t important or useful information for
your particular needs and, besides, determining ?popularity? isn?t
really possible in this context.
I hope what you really wanted was useful information on how to market
your program and that is what I supplied.
Please request clarification if you think I missed anything important
WHICH WAS included in the original question. I can?t provide downloads
of station addresses because of the text-only nature of this service
and also for copyright reasons but I provided several sets of links to
different sites which do provide this for all commercial and public TV
broadcast stations around the world.