NPR, PBS, American Public Media, PRI, PRX to share digital platform


Public radio and television have kicked off an effort to develop a digital distribution network that will allow public broadcasters and web producers to combine, create, share and distribute their news and cultural content. The effort is being spearheaded by five national producers: American Public Media, NPR, PBS, Public Radio International and the Public Radio Exchange (PRX). It was announced by NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has provided nearly $1 million over the next six months to create development plans and a working prototype of what the partners are calling the Public Media Platform (PMP). NPR is administering the grant that will fund the planning phase. Fully developed, the PMP will serve as a technology backbone enabling today’s non-compatible systems to connect, allowing for unprecedented access and flow of content.

The goal is to develop a broad digital network that will invite and support innovative uses of public media content, and match – or exceed – the impact of public radio and television today. The PMP will allow public media producers – and potentially others outside public media – to combine their content in a shared platform and make it available for a wide variety of public uses, from news sites to educational content. 

At the core of the PMP is an open Application Programming Interface that will simplify the task of sharing, combining and distributing news and educational content to member organizations and the general public. It will be available to established organizations such as the five public media partners, as well as public radio and TV stations, independent producers, and non-traditional, mission-focused content creators and developers who see value in aligning their efforts with public broadcasting.  Some of the uses of the PMP include mobile apps, third party sites (from major news aggregators to niche websites), blogs, mash-ups, and widgets.

The PMP is bringing a group of innovative advisors to the table to offer their ideas and expertise on how to best serve audiences, communities and users of the PMP. An Advisory Council will meet regularly over the next six months alongside the PMP leadership team. The Council, with more members to be named soon, consists of leaders from public radio and television and mission driven technology and journalism organizations: Document Cloud, iTVs, KPBS, KQED, Louisville Public Media, Mashery, Miro, National Black Programming Consortium, North Country Public Radio, the Station Resource Group, and WGBH.