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I finally got around to watching season six of Downton Abbey which was the final season in the series. I loved Downtown Abbey. The production values for a TV show were quite simply out of this world I had never seen anything like it.

In the United States we have to watch this British television show on PBS, or like me, you pay to watch it on internet sites like Amazon Prime.

Downton Abbey was actually produced by the BBC but instead of getting to watch it on BBC America we instead have to watch it on PBS because they spend millions of dollars to buy the rights for it.

PBS (Public Service Television) doesn’t work like normal TV channels. Instead of making money through selling ad space (ie: commercials) or through monthly subscriptions (ie: HBO) PBS makes its money through donations.

I’m not a fan of this method. Why beg users for money and let’s be clear here, that is exactly what they do day in and day out, when you can just sell ad space and be done with it?

Beyond that, what happened to all that money they made on shows like Teletubbies and Barney? We all know that PBS made a killing in merchandise rights for those shows.

  • The Teletubbies began in 1997. They were an instant success.
  • Before that there was Barney and Friends in 1992. I think we all know how hugely successful that franchise was.

Those shows make a crap load of money, hundreds of millions a year in merchandising rights if not upwards of a billion a year.

PBS is a non-commercial not for profit, broadcast television distributor and in 2011 PBS made close to a billion dollars in revenue — $838.4 million to be exact.

It’s that money they use to buy the rights to shows like Downton Abbey so they can then play while they beg us for money.

It just doesn’t make sense!!

Most of public television’s revenues come from private membership donations and grants most stations solicit individual donations by methods including fundraising, pledge drives or telethons, which disrupt regularly scheduled programming.

This annoys some viewers, since regularly scheduled programming is often replaced with specials aimed at a wider audience (such as music specials aimed at the baby boomer generation, and financial, health and motivational programs) to solicit new members and donations; during fundraising events, these programs are often interrupted within the broadcast by long-form segments (of six to eight minutes in length) encouraging viewers to donate to their PBS member.

Instead of running a 6 to 8 minute commercial to beg for donations, why not just sell that 6 to 8 minutes in commercials and save us viewers the hassle?

Long story short, I hate PBS. Not because of lack of quality programming but because their business model is retarded and makes no sense.

Update: I found out today that the government spends almost half a billion dollars a year to fund PBS. So in addition to the nearly billion dollars a year in revenue, they also get an addition $500 million a year from the government. SERIOUSLY?