PBS appoints Channel 4 for ad sales

PBS, the factual American broadcaster, has appointed Channel 4 as its exclusive ad sales partner ahead of its launch on 1 November.

The channel will launch on channel 166 on the BSkyB platform with the stapline 'Where Television Matters' and programming will include the UK TV premiere of 'Prohibition' by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.

The UK PBS channel is a joint venture between Canadian-born entrepreneur David Lyons, and PBS Distribution, which holds the international rights to the majority of PBS's programming.

The UK channel will broadcast PBS' regular strands such as Nova (science), American Experience (US history) and Frontline (investigative journalism) every weeknight in primetime.

PBS is believed to be in discussions to broadcast on the Virgin Media platform.

Richard Kingsbury, general manager of PBS UK, said: "In the States, PBS is well-loved and trusted for its programming, so it was essential to select a company capable of delivering a high quality viewing experience throughout the ad-breaks as well.

"There's an obvious fit between our two brands and we're delighted to be represented by Channel 4."

At the start of 2011 Channel 4 took over the ad sales of UKTV's portfolio of 10 TV channels and websites, which it sells alongside Channel 4, More4, E4, Film4, 4Music and the six Box channels it operates as joint venture with Bauer Media.

UKTV was the first third party ad sales contract Channel 4 has taken on and although there were some initial problems with the terms of the contract, issues were resolved earlier this year.

Jonathan Allan, who joined Channel 4 as sales director last month, said: "PBS and Channel 4 have a natural synergy – in becoming their sales house we’re helping bring the best public service programming from the US to a UK audience.

"The deal reinforces Channel 4 Sales' position as the premium sales house for high quality public service content."

Last week PBS UK appointed branding and design agency Dunning Penney Jones (DPJ) to create its on-air look and feel, including its idents. The broadcaster is still speaking to UK media and creative agencies.

Follow @MaisieMcCabe on Twitter

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