Southern California’s Flagship PBS Stations KCET and PBS SoCal Rebrand In Anticipation of Digital Future
Los Angeles, Calif. – Jan. 19, 2021 – PBS SoCal and KCET, Southern California's flagship PBS stations and home for award-winning public media productions as well as premieres of new PBS programs, announced today a rebranding effort that includes the launch of new logos and a creative refresh both on-air and online. Two years after both local public media stations merged along with satellite service Link TV (Dish 9410 and DirecTV 375) to create the Public Media Group of Southern California, they have unified their online platforms with an all-new website redesign that will make it simpler for visitors to discover programming, editorial and resources as well as make it more efficient for the organization to manage video assets and content. The changes will ensure digital users a more streamlined and intuitive experience. Viewers can explore the updated brands, graphic packages and contemporary colors that reflect the hues of Southern California starting today by tuning in to all three broadcast stations and by visiting the websites at kcet.org, linktv.org and pbssocal.org (revisions to PBS SoCal’s site will be completed by Tues., Jan. 26).
“We have been hard at work to fully integrate our stations in the two years since our merger. This rebrand will help us to connect seamlessly with viewers across all platforms. Our new advanced capabilities that we launch today set us up for a bright future in a digital age where national and local PBS content is front and center, alongside programming from Disney +, Apple TV, Netflix, and other streaming leaders,” said Public Media Group of Southern California’s President and CEO Andrew Russell. “As we head into a new year, it is important to remember that although the looks of both PBS SoCal and KCET are changing, our mission remains the same: to strengthen the civic fabric of Southern California while sharing diverse perspectives and providing an essential connection to a wider world.”
The comprehensive rebranding initiative is the result of PBS SoCal and KCET’s strategy of transforming for a digital world and strengthening the connection to a community where one-third of the current audience is streaming content. Under PBS SoCal and KCET, a combined seven broadcast channels are available to 18 million viewers in ten counties across Southern California. While the local TV broadcast stations will continue to be as vital as ever to the organization’s success, the new branding effort recognizes the stations’ commitment to on-demand and digital-first content for audiences both regional and nationwide through streaming, apps, social media, educational curricula and virtual events.
“You Happen Here” Marketing Campaign. A multi-platform marketing campaign started airing on PBS SoCal and KCET recently under the banner “You Happen Here.” Over the course of the next few months, a variety of on-air promo spots, website messaging, membership communications and social media posts will be distributed emphasizing growth, culture and illumination highlighting the organization’s commitment to sharing stories, voices and perspectives with the community.
“It is a critical time to engage our audiences as we aim to define and solidify brand unity for PBS SoCal, KCET and Link TV. We want the viewer to look at these broadcast brands next to one another and understand that these channels belong together as a family,” commented Public Media Group of Southern California’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications Dan Ferguson. “Though our mission to serve the public good remains the same, the new messaging accentuates that PBS SoCal is the home for the entire PBS family of programming and acts as a leading educational resource for children and families, where KCET is a guide to illuminating arts, culture and local news in Southern California.”
Digital Integration and Website Launches. The goal of renovating the websites for PBS SoCal, KCET and Link TV was for users to find more of the content they enjoy by consolidating three different platforms into one, making it a more efficient and streamlined experience for both the organization and the user. New York/Paris-based brand and digital product agency AREA 17 helped reimagine the digital ecosystem across the three brands. A more colorful, modern, and easier-to-use format will now feature personalized capabilities and will be compatible with other systems used by the organization. The reconstructed sites migrated two distinct content management systems into a single, shared architecture and foundation on the Brightspot content business platform in order to support the future evolution of viewer engagement on the digital platforms. New opportunities for personalized and segmented user experiences will be available with a heavier emphasis on content to stream on-demand.
“Visitors to PBS SoCal’s website will experience new content and features that support early learning, including new tools for navigating through educational content. The KCET users will find topical collections encouraging exploration and discovery connected to the region,” explained Public Media Group of Southern California’s Senior Director of Digital Bijan Rezvani.
Rebrand Creative Overview. Public Media Group of Southern California also collaborated with AREA 17 to develop the new brands for both PBS SoCal and KCET. With brand values for the new PBS SoCal rebranding that include trust, curiosity, connection and possibility, the new brand retains the relationship to the PBS national brand while bringing in a unique Southern California feeling. Alongside the national PBS blue, coral is the new signature color with a primary typeface of PBS Sans. At the heart of the brand package is graphic elements like the circle crops and circle highlights which frames imagery that aims to highlight the beauty of PBS programming and introduces audiences to new worlds through storytelling. Graphic elements also provide flexibility in expressing the brand across platforms where a line and highlight device will be used to call attention to key information and move the eye through content.
KCET'S new look-and-feel is rooted in the ethos of Southern California - creativity, diverse perspectives and optimism. Bold and inviting, the logotype uses the typeface Gellix to reflect KCET's open and optimistic nature. A new KCET logo combined with a distinct new vibrant yellow brand color embodies Southern California values of illumination, inclusion and exploration. The secondary color palette is inspired directly from the region’s iconic sunsets. Graphic elements such as maps and geometric highlights inspired from the logo’s letterforms highlight and guide viewers through the system. The system is tailored for content discovery and develops a modern and flexible brand language optimized for both broadcast and digital. The redesigned brand will be combined with on-air photography capable of serving the organization’s growing audiences across multiple platforms now and well into the future.
“Featuring new brand marks, a vibrant palette of California colors and a flexible design language optimized for content discovery and engagement, we have created a beautiful and powerful new visual system that distinguishes our brands while also unifying our portfolio of channels,” added Public Media Group of Southern California’s Senior Director of Creative Services Hiawatha Bradley.
21st Century Technology Upgrades. Public Media Group of Southern California’s digital advancements for the future also include merging PBS SoCal, KCET, and LinkTV Master Control into one streamlined operation. With a focus on leveraging cloud based storage, combined with a scalable future proof roadmap to take the organization into the future, apartnership was created with PMM which allows the organization to deliver the best programming public media has to offer as well as the latest news and information from around the globe. Additional integration improvements have included a successful merge of two massive ProTrack databases that drive broadcast schedules, manage content and program rights, etc. These efforts and many others have been made to bring the organization into the 21st century and to be technologically prepared for the future as well as operating more efficiently because of these upgrades.
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ABOUT PBS SOCAL AND KCET
PBS SoCal and KCET are both part of the donor-supported community institution, the Public Media Group of Southern California. PBS SoCal is the flagship PBS station and delivers content and community outreach experiences that inspire, inform and educate. PBS SoCal offers the full slate of beloved PBS programs including MASTERPIECE, NOVA, PBS NewsHour, FRONTLINE, and a broad library of documentary films including works from Ken Burns; as well as educational content including PBS KIDS programs like DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD and CURIOUS GEORGE. KCET is on-air, online and in the community, and plays a vital role in the cultural enrichment of Southern California. KCET offers a wide range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public television programs from around the world. Throughout its history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions and its website, kcet.org. For additional information about both PBS SoCal and KCET productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org and pbssocal.org KCET Originals and PBS programming are available to stream on the FREE PBS App on iOS and Android devices, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV, and Chromecast. KCET is also available to watch live on YouTube TV.
About LINK TV
Founded in 1999, Link TV is an independent viewer-supported media organization dedicated to providing programs that engage and inform its audiences with unique perspectives, and empower them to become involved in the world. Reaching more than 31 million U.S. satellite households nationally (DIRECTV channel 375 and DISH Network channel 9410), Link TV connects American viewers with people at the heart of breaking events, organizations at the forefront of social change and the vibrant cultures of an increasingly global community. Select programming from Link TV is also available for streaming on Apple TV, YouTube and Roku platforms. For additional information about Link TV productions, web-exclusive content and program schedules, please visit linktv.org.
About the Public Media Group of Southern California
The Public Media Group of Southern California (PMGSC) tells stories that matter through original programs that reflect the diversity of our region, and through the full schedule of trusted PBS programs. Our Southern California content channels PBS SoCal and KCET are available over-the-air in the Los Angeles market with programming available to stream on the free PBS App. Our Link TV channel is available nationally on DirecTV and Dish Network. A donor-supported community institution, PMGSC sparks the sharing of ideas at in-person cultural events and community conversations and delivers social impact through a variety of services including those that prepare our most vulnerable children for school.