As it marks 40 years on the air, Louisiana Public Broadcasting isn’t dwelling on its past. It’s too busy developing its future.
In 1975, the network’s viewers accessed programming one way — from the TVs in their living rooms.
Now, the choices for watching public television are varied, from streaming Roku, to online sites, to the ubiquitous smartphone. With that in mind, LPB recently joined the app world.
“As soon as we produce a show — ‘Public Square,’ ‘Newsmakers.’ ‘Press Club,’ any of those things we produce — they go live on the app, so they’re available sometimes before they even air on television,” said John Tooraen, LPB’s IT and Web manager.
The app also ties in with LPB’s social media presences — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and just lately, Periscope, a live streaming video mobile app. There’s also a pocket schedule and a link to the Louisiana’s Digital Media Archive, and an LPB support page.
“Really, this is an indication that now, across all media, you have to have your content out there on whatever device so people will have access to it,” said LPB President and CEO Beth Courtney.
“Our app ties in with all the stuff we’re uploading to the national site (PBS), but it makes it a Louisiana-centric landing place. It does also have a link for PBS Kids, so it ties in with all the kids’ games,” Tooraen said.
Courtney explained that one of the things PBS has tried to do is to make sure to highlight what their station members are doing.
“So that when you go to the PBS app, it will localize for Louisiana,” she said.
With the app comes questions about what content to carry, and for what amount of time.
“We’re still trying to determine how long we keep certain programs up, like how long do we have up the new episode of ‘Downton’?” Courtney said, referencing the blockbuster hit, “Downton Abbey,” which starts its sixth and final season on Jan. 3.
Generally, programming from PBS is available for 14 days after its premiere, they said.
“If people miss it, they can watch it the next day at the airport, the doctor’s office, wherever,” Tooraen said.
Extended accessibility to local programming, LPB’s strong suit, is another consideration.
“The governor’s forum we did recently from Southeastern (Louisiana University) with students drew a lot of people,” Courtney said.
Tooraen added that there was a good bit of online traffic for the forum, and 40 percent of that was mobile traffic.
“It’s trying to meet people where they are and bring our content to people when they want to have it and how they want to have it,” he said.
The free app is available for Android and iPhone devices. To download it, go to your device’s app store and search for “LPB.”
For more information, visit lpb.org/anywhere.