American TV Videos: Idents

Be more with PBS.

The Public Broadcasting Service of the United States gets a refresh.l

> Quicktime H.264
> iPod Compatible
> Watch in Flash
(4.6mb progressive)

> Quicktime H.264
> iPod Compatible
> Watch in Flash
(14mb progressive)

> Quicktime H.264
> iPod Compatible
> Watch in Flash
(13mb progressive)

Continuing my series of blatant bias towards public broadcasters, and blind rage towards commercial networks.. I present you with the new look for PBS.

Although funded differently to the BBC or the ABC, the Public Broadcasting Service of the United States shares a similar mission to “educate, inspire, entertain”. Like other public broadcasters around the world it is also considered its nations “most trusted national institution”.

But enough about the philosophy, what about the brand. Created by Eyeball, the new look is distinctively non-commercial, yet polished, two qualities sometimes considered mutually exclusively, but beautifully executed here.

Sidenote: Carrier is one of the best documentary series I’ve ever seen.

11 replies on “Be more with PBS.”

If only the local PBS affilites would get their acts together and update their graphics. My two local stations are still using the 2001 and 2005 PBS packages respectively.

It’s actually quite interesting to see such a difference between American corporate broadcasters such as ABC, NBC, CBS and Public PBS in their graphical packages. While the large networks have a distinctive “American” feel to them, PBS has one that is very much different – American as well, but much more “humanistic”, somewhat similar to SBS’s “My Story” or many other European public broadcasters’ packages.

All three of the local stations I watch (WIPB in Muncie, Indiana; and ThinkTV 16 & 14 in Dayton, Ohio) have updated their graphics – though what that means varies. None of the stations I’ve viewed are using the awesome lower thirds showcased in the demo reel – WIPB just uses plain text, and ThinkTV uses a color-cordinated stripe that slides in, giving it a very powerpoint-esque feel. At the same time, none of the stations are taking advantage of the custom font across the board, nor are they using the Accordion Fillers. I have seen the 5 second versions after some newer programs as a network ident, but I see the old 2003 idents just as often since stations often play old programs off tape, and never update the branding. Heck, I just saw the Election 2008 Promo while watching Antiques Roadshow.

Ultimately the problem is the decentralized nature of PBS, since the network has essentially zero control over branding, content, or programming on individual stations – much like the UK’s ITV networks in the 80’s and 90’s, but worse. The fact that many affiliates are small non-profits with limited resources doesn’t help, either.

these are beautiful and elegant…australian channels would do well to note these wonderful idents and broadcast designs

Thanks heaps mate! Ever heard of the Icelandic singer Jonsi? Check out his songs Go Do, and Animal Arithmatic. Awesome stuff!

I’ve emailed the presentation dudes and dudesses at TVNZ here in New Zealand asking them to consider something like this PBS look next time they refresh TV One’s identity.

The current look is dull as dishwater and is a step backwards from some of their previous efforts, such as this awesome extended TVNZ One ident from mid 2000s pre-widescreen:

Kia Kaha Aotearoa!

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