The Power of Public Media

Published: 8 years ago

We worked with the producers of World Channel to tackle a common problem: a dated, largely static Web site that was difficult to update and hard to view on multiple platforms.

Viewers most often come to the site with three key questions:

1. What’s on WORLD Channel and when?
WORLD Channel airs on a variety of stations across the country, depending upon timezone. Shows never air at the same time across the country as they are fed under a single feed at once to everyone. Lots of visitors to the site have a simple question: what time is a particular documentary on in my community? 8pm et or 5pm PT?

2. Where is WORLD Channel?
It’s not PBS but it is public media. How do I find it in my community? Is it available in my community? Viewers of WORLD Channel and those who want to view it all have the same questions: “I hear you are airing “America ReFramed,” (WORLD CHANNEL ORIGINAL PRODUCTION) how do I find WORLD Channel in my community so I can watch it? What PBS station “carries” WORLD Channel and is it on Comcast? I don’t have cable, can I still see WORLD Channel?”

3. Video, video and more video.
Many viewers find WORLD by accident in the middle of night “channel surfing” or online via social media. They might catch a documentary on TV from the middle and get engaged, because, “there is always something interesting on WORLD Channel,” as Executive Producer Chris Hastings likes to say. The viewer wants to see it from the beginning. They go online to to watch the film in its entirety.

The new site at targets the needs of each of these types of visitors.

A deep integration with PBS’ Schedule API offers visitors the opportunity to personalize the schedule to their local cable provider, and easily search for the shows they are most interested in. Reorganizing the site’s program pages makes it easy to find recently aired shows, in their entirety, and related content.

Finally, by moving the entire site into a content management system we have custom-developed for WORLD Channel and other productions, “we now have a website that will scale technically and is in step with WGBH’s other our national brands, allowing our small team to benefit from our in-house development expertise at WGBH Digital,” said Hastings.

The new CMS also makes it easier to train support staff to easily update the dominant homepage carousel and the “What’s Hot section” and “What’s on Today” areas of the homepage — and just about anything else on the site, as needed.

And by building the site using responsive design, the site functions smoothly and looks great on tablets, laptops, phones and more.

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