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PBS drives its mission of being a trusted window to the world on AWS

The mission of PBS is to serve the American public with trusted programming and resources that educate, entertain, and inspire, and provide a diversity of perspectives. The publicly funded, nonprofit public broadcaster and television program distributor was founded in 1969 and is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. It has over 330 member stations and reaches 100 million people through television and 32 million people online monthly with diverse education and entertainment programming and applications.

PBS innovates using Amazon Web Services (AWS) to bring its annual Short Film Festival to a virtual format, improve the performance of video streams, enhance its archives with deep search functionality, and more using artificial intelligence (AI). Using the Amazon CloudFront content delivery network, PBS has experienced 50 percent fewer streaming errors. PBS delivers nearly all of its video streaming through CloudFront, averaging more than 70 PB of content delivered monthly.

“We needed an infrastructure capable of receiving and broadcasting positional data from hundreds of users every 33 milliseconds, and Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) and Amazon ElastiCache for Redis delivered.”

Mikey Centrella
Director of Product Management, Digital Innovation Team, PBS

Learn how PBS builds on AWS to drive innovation across the public media industry and deliver America’s largest classroom to its viewers. Following are highlights of some PBS AWS stories:

PBS Drives Content Engagement with Amazon Personalize

With thousands of PBS programs, it can be a challenge to surface the most relevant options to dedicated and new viewers using traditional algorithms. Using Amazon Personalize—a service that enables developers to build applications with machine learning (ML) technology for real-time personalized recommendations—PBS quickly implemented a recommendation engine that drives engagement with PBS’s trusted content.

PBS Takes 10th Annual PBS Short Film Festival Virtual Using AWS

The annual PBS Short Film Festival is part of a multi-platform initiative to increase the reach and visibility of independent filmmakers from across the United States and amplify the voices of diverse content creators. In 2021, PBS brought the festival to a new virtual format. To make the virtual reality (VR) experience possible, the Digital Innovation team at PBS created an immersive WebXR beta experience, “Screen on the Green,” using AWS Media Services, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Amazon CloudFront.

Using AWS, PBS drives its mission of being a trusted window to the world forward by innovating from its backend operations to its content delivery. To learn more, read the full case study.

Petra Lewis

Petra Lewis

Petra E. Lewis is a content specialist for the Global Customer References Program (GCRP)'s Storytelling group at AWS. She is a seasoned marketing communications professional who worked in financial services prior to entering tech. Her last financial services role was vice president and head of Internal Communications for a top-10 global investment bank.