The Proposal Process

PBS Website

PBS Sponsors PBS is a non-profit media enterprise which is owned collectively by public television stations, of which there are 349 in the US. Founded in 1969, it has grown to encompass several different program styles. There aren't too many media outlets today where you can watch children's programming, news/public affairs, documentaries, and classic films all within a 6 hour time span. The widespread program offerings at PBS are a large reason for their success.

PBS also has several sub-branches of its organization, dedicated to different parts of their overall mission. Ready to Learn, for example, is a program geared toward childrens' education while the Adult Learning Service attempts to provide college-level educational programming to adults. With the latter, adults can earn college credit by watching certain programs.

$1.6 billion a year? Last year, PBS pulled in over $1.6 billion, with the income from "viewers like you" being the largest percentage of contributions. This is an interesting point, because since viewers are such a high source of direct income, the emphasis of PBS's programming strategy is on what people want to see, not what advertisers want to fund.

What does this mean for a filmmaker? It means you've got a very good chance at having an outlet for your film on PBS. What's the main mission for PBS? Who better to tell us than Pat Mitchell, PBS President and CEO...

"...We believe that the content we develop, fund, and schedule can contribute to a more healthy society and that our programs should encourage the active involvement of citizens to trust, connect and act collectively to address social challenges. PBS aims to increase awareness, provide multiple viewpoints, treat complex social issues completely, provide forums for deliberation, and strengthen ties between our viewers and their communities."
-Pat Mitchell

So, besides having an outlet for your finished film, how could you go about getting funding from PBS? Read on...

The Proposal Process