Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Big Ratings!

The Currier & Ives series may have aired regionally already, but the show just goes on! Currier & Ives: Perspectives on America began rebroadcasting on WGBY over the weekend and will enjoy a long life on the air. We just finished editing national versions of the shows, which meant shortening the length and changing some local content. Part 3, in particular, looks a bit different and benefits from some content changes.

How does national distribution work? Well, a distributor (in this case, American Public Television/APT) offers shows to PBS programmers at stations nationwide by previewing clips or entire shows so that they can pick and choose what they think their audience will like. At least 25 stations must accept a program in order for that show or series to be distributed. A representative from APT told me the distributors were impressed with our series, pleased by its national content, and thought it would do well. In addition, Program Directors are hungry for content in high definition and our series is in HD. So we are hoping for good things and even prepared the shows for distribution in advance of the green light. Let's hope that's confidence and not cockiness!

Not long ago, we got a good sense of audience response to the documentary series. It seems all the promotion and community outreach paid off: the broadcast premiere of Currier & Ives: Perspectives on America in late February was a great success! The series received the highest ratings of any local program in station memory. Here's how the ratings went:
Part 1: 3/5
Part 2: 3/5
Part 3: 3/7
Historically, WGBY's local programs pull in ratings of 1/1-1/2, if they get any ratings at all. Currier & Ives: Perspectives on America was the fourth most watched show (this includes both national PBS and local programming) on WGBY during the month of February, coming in above shows like NOVA and Antiques Road Show. Our biggest audience was women and men over fifty.

Now I'm working on developing packaging for the DVD (national & local versions)so that it can be given to those who supported the project or took part in the series. We will also give the DVDs to area museums, libraries, and schools.
Also, we're shooting video for podcasts that will help teachers create lesson plans using the Currier & Ives prints to teach a variety of subjects. It is fascinating and gratifying to see the results of those Teacher Workshops in action! The website is being updated - we'll soon add an interactive feature for kids and you'll be able to watch clips from all three broadcasts. I'm also taking a month-long online course recommended by our grantmakers in order to effectively report to them. At the same time, I'm keeping an eagle-eye on that shrinking bottom line, making sure that I don't go over-budget as I near the end of my terrific tenure with
Currier & Ives: Perspectives on America. I don't want it to end. It's been an education and a joy.

I'll keep you posted.

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