A Guide for Media Buyers: Spots on PBS Are More Effective than other TV Ads

Discover how PBS stands out in the world of television advertising, offering a unique media environment that makes brand messages more effective and memorable for viewers.

Media buyers know the options available for promoting brands on commercial networks are changing and are challenged by brand saturation, making it difficult for consumers to recall brands, or even to care about them. In a landscape of cable and network commercial sameness, PBS offers a unique media environment that sets it apart from other television advertising options.

Comparing PBS & Commercial Advertisement Networks

The biggest difference between the spots you see on PBS vs. ads on broadcast advertising networks is the number of commercial breaks that interrupt programming. PBS only has two, 60-second national sponsor breaks in an hour-long program — one at the beginning of each program, and one at the end. And each of these 60-second pods is limited to a maximum of four, non-competing brands. This means brands that run on PBS stand out, making them more impactful and memorable to viewers, as they are not fighting for the viewers’ attention as they do in a cluttered pod on commercial networks. 

How PBS Spots Differ from Traditional TV Commercial Ads

Another difference is the content of the ads themselves. PBS has guidelines for the ads that air on its network (and streaming) that comply with FCC rules governing non-commercial media. As a result, PBS has created a unique brand voice that supports our programming, and that our viewers have come to trust. For example, PBS ads cannot include pricing information, offers, inducements to buy, or calls to action that are not purely informational. Instead, PBS ads are designed to tell a story and create an emotional connection with viewers. And it works! The non-promotional, brand-focused messages viewers see on PBS are well received by PBS viewers precisely because they are less promotional and intrusive. And since PBS viewers are so loyal and appreciative of the programming they find on PBS, they understand the necessity of, and appreciate, the corporate support of their favorite programs. There is Kantar data that supports this fact outlined below.

Why PBS is More Effective than Commercial TV Advertisements

When brands and media buyers engage PBS, here’s what we tell them, and here’s what they experience:

  1. Less Clutter: With fewer ads per break, PBS viewers are more likely to pay attention to the ads that do air. This means that your ad is more likely to make an impact on viewers. 85% of PBS viewers say they appreciate the clutter-free, non-commercial environment while watching PBS programming.*
  2. Engaged Audience: PBS viewers tend to be highly engaged with the content they’re watching. This means that they’re more likely to pay attention to your ad and remember it. Viewers are 29% more likely to remember the companies that sponsor PBS than commercial TV network viewers.*
  3. Trust: PBS is a trusted brand that viewers have come to rely on for quality programming they can’t find anywhere else. PBS has ranked #1 in public trust for the 20th year in a row!** By advertising on PBS, your brand can benefit from this trust and credibility that extends to PBS’s corporate sponsors. 74% of PBS viewers say they respect companies that sponsor PBS due to their association with PBS.*

Partner with PBS for a Successful Television Advertising Campaign

Whether creating a new spot or using/adapting existing creative, our experienced team will partner with you to help you create an effective spot that meets PBS/FCC Guidelines. Our team works with you to modify or create spots specifically for PBS, or determine if your spots are good as is! The PBS team works closely with corporate sponsors to make the process collaborative and as simple as possible. 

Brands and media buyers looking for a more effective way to advertise should consider PBS. With our engaged audience, trusted brand, and minimal commercial interruptions, PBS is a great option for media buyers looking to make an impact. 

Also worth noting: our Smart TV app, streaming video, and our growing list of FAST channels and digital channels. PBS serves and reaches American audiences where they are, and how they want to consume our content and support our advertisers.

To get started, contact us to learn more about becoming a national corporate sponsor.

Source:  *Kantar | SGPTV,  US Video Audience Insights 2023 | **Marketing & Research Resources, Inc. (M&RR) 2023


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