On Thursday, 12/15, PBS sponsored a Digital Future Initiative Summit in Washington, DC to unveil the report of its panel [pdf] chaired by James Barksdale and Reed Hundt. The panel's work was funded by the John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation. Among its wide-ranging recommendations was the following:
PBS, NPR, PRI and local stations, together with other leading national and local partners, should create an unprecedented new content archive and delivery system -- a Public Service Media Web Engine -- to enable Americans to access public service media anywhere, anytime and on-demand. This Web Engine should provide a readily searchable archive, surrounded by supporting functions and services for content creators, distributors and end-users. Easily accessible through Web portals like pbs.org, npr.org and station websites, the engine would provide virtually unlimited "shelf space" for current and archived content, increasing the utilization of all content across both space and time, thereby improving the economics and audiences of public service content.
Among the 34 (count 'em) speakers in the 5-hour summit were WGBH VP/CTO David Liroff, Shiloh Group CEO and PBS board member Tom Wheeler (also see), and yours truly, whose remarks were, as you might imagine, consistent with this recommendation. David and I are part of the Public Service Publisher Initiative, an ad hoc group of public broadcasting stations and independent producers who are working with the non-profit Open Media Network to do just that.
The panel's work is valuable beyond this recommendation, of course. Now, if we can just keep it from joining the big library of "shelfware" that our industry seems to be good at creating.
Also see Jeremy Egner, Digital Futures Panel zooms in on specific services pubcasting should offer, in the public broadcasting newspaper, Current. --Dennis