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Streaming for a Smarter World

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Cutting the Cord, Retaining Support

A majority of U.S. households are either on their way to cutting the cord or have never had traditional television. KCTS 9 is committed to being digital-first and reaching new audiences. However, the vast majority of their donations come via viewers. Thus, KCTS needs to meet their donor audience where they currently are—ensuring the station survives and thrives. 

This effort is vitally important to the future of all PBS stations. 

With their digital-first focus, KCTS 9 made it their goal to engage a new generation of supporters, extending its reach in Canada by offering access to streaming content via Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV+, and iOS. These apps offer a modern, accessible, personalized, feature-rich viewing experience and provide streamers a broad catalog of acclaimed PBS shows and documentary films. 

Screens from KCTS 9's website

Satisfying Content Cravings

KCTS 9 partnered with Phase2 and dove headfirst into a crowded streaming market, where new providers are announced regularly. To maximize viewer satisfaction and engagement with the over-the-top (OTT) experience, Phase2 developed a method for displaying a set of shows in a carousel personalized to a viewer’s taste, through the use of a recommendation engine.

The recommendation engine is made possible with a variant of an optimization algorithm, used in machine learning, that uses data to make an educated guess on how an unclassified point should be classified. Understanding viewers can have many interests and enjoy a myriad of genres, it’s important to deliver several options to satisfy viewers’ latest content cravings.

KCTS 9 app animation

…we’re doing something significant behind-the-scenes — by using open source technology like Drupal, leaning on best-in-class partners, and collaborating with other public television stations around the nation we’re looking to democratize streaming and usher in a new golden age of public television.

Kevin Colligan | VP Media & Innovation, KCTS 9
KCTS 9 PBS recommendation engine diagram

Build for Today, Architect for Tomorrow

Since the station’s inaugural Roku TV app launch, 100,000 people have installed the app and nearly 800 new donors have joined the organization. KCTS 9 has come a long way since its founding in 1954. Back then, an aerial antenna and TV set were the only way to watch.  Today, KCTS 9 is a widely available, multi-platform television station with a vision for the future.

KCTS 9 PBS donation and app screens
KCTS 9 logo

Essential Viewing for Communities

KCTS 9 is an award-winning PBS television station serving Washington state and Canada. The station educates and enriches communities by providing informative, entertaining programming. One of the largest PBS affiliates, KCTS 9 knows its future is dependent on the ability to demonstrate how fundamental they are to the fabric of the region they serve.

KCTS 9 has something that appeals to every generation. From learning the alphabet on “Sesame Street” to learning how to make bread on “Food For Thought,” public media provides a vital service that informs, inspires, educates, and brings communities together.

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