Welcome to Ufront Media Insights;
Today, I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Matthew Graham, Senior Director of PBS Digital Studios. Mr. Matthew Graham is the Senior Director and founder of PBS Digital Studios, PBS’ network of web-original programs and winner of 5 Webby Awards in 2013. He has more than 15 years of experience in broadcast and online media, entrepreneurship, and business management. Please enjoy this interview and gain some insights on how Matthew Graham and PBS is moving and creating new content for the digital media space.
Roger: What inspired you to create and found PBS DIGITAL STUDIOS?
Matthew: PBS and member stations have long been leaders in the digital media space and PBS Digital Studios is one of the latest initiatives in PBS’ overall digital strategy. PBS Digital Studios is helping to expand PBS’ relationship with a generation of viewers who grew up watching and loving PBS on television, but are now accessing content in different formats and across platforms.
Roger: Is PBS content targeted to kids or a more adult demographic with your digital content?
Matthew: The audience for PBS Digital Studios is produced with adult audiences in mind, but we’ve seen that with series such as “PBS Idea Channel” and “The Art Assignment” that a substantial portion of the viewership is actually teen viewers. Content from PBS Digital Studios might look very different from the traditional broadcast programming on PBS, but it shares the same core values – smart programming that engages people’s curiosity about the world around them while encouraging critical thinking and community building. PBS Digital Studios has more than 30 original series, nearly half of which are produced in partnership with local PBS stations.
“The Art Assignment,” from Sarah Urist Green along with husband John Green, challenges people to create and experience new forms of art. David Gerlach’s series, “Blank on Blank,” brings to life unheard interviews with cultural icons such as Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, Jerry Garcia and Maurice Sendak. “It’s Okay To Be Smart,” hosted by Ph.D biologist Joe Hanson tackles a range of scientific questions for an active audience of science fans of all ages. Earlier this year “Everything But The News” launched and Steve Goldbloom provides a hilarious, satiric take on reporting from Silicon Valley. Mike Rugnetta’s “PBS Idea Channel” pioneered PBS Digital Studios’ series offerings and has won multiple Webby Awards. Lastly, “PBS Game Show” hosted by Jamin Warren looks at the relationship between video games and modern life.
Roger: This was PBS first time presentation for the Digital Newfronts 2014, talk about some of the new shows that are coming soon this year?
Matthew: Joining the PBS Digital Studios network this fall will be “Frankenstein, M.D.,” a scripted series from Pemberley Digital, the creators of the “Lizzie Bennet Diaries” and “Emma Approved.” Pancake Mountain,” a reboot of the cult-favorite musical variety show that featured more than 150 popular music artists, will launch this summer. We have a really robust pipeline of projects in development, so we’ll be announcing many more new shows over the next year.
Roger: What was your feeling when you found out that PBS was named best “Best Branded YouTube Channel” by Mashable and winning numerous Webby Awards?
Matthew: Of course we were incredibly excited to receive such great recognition for our work.
Roger: How did the partnership with Magnet Media come about and the new shows they created for PBS Digital Studios like Bongo Bongo and Food Buzz?
Matthew: We’ve been fans of the video content that Magnet Media is creating, so we’re delighted to work with them on these additions to the PBS Digital Studios network. “Bongo Bongo,” explores the history of English-language words, and “Food Buzz,” offers viewers a fast, funny look at the latest news in the food blogosphere and the history, science and psychology behind a variety of food memes.
Roger: In the viewers’ minds, what do you want PBS Digital Studios to be known for when it comes to the types of content you create?
Matthew: PBS Digital Studios creates smart, high-quality and engaging video content for digital platforms. PBS Digital Studios shares the same core values as PBS and its local stations– providing smart programming that engages people’s curiosity about the world around them while encouraging critical thinking and community building.
Roger: Thank you and stay tuned to more One on One interviews on Ufront Media Insights.