Blog from October, 2010

PLEASE NOTE: This webinar occurred on 10/28/10.

Thank you to everyone who attended the COVE Admin 2.0 Introduction webinar. As promised, here is the Powerpoint presentation we used for this webinar:

We will soon be posting answers to all the great questions we got during webinar so please check back to this blog post.

As always, if you have any questions feel free add them in the comments section below or reach out to your program manager.

Please join us this Thursday at 2pm for a webinar about the new COVE Admin Tool.

This webinar will be an opportunity for us to share where we are at in the development of this new tool as well as what capabilities it will have and some new concepts you’ll need to know. We’ll also be taking your questions.

So please join us and learn how this new tool will help you better leverage the COVE platform.

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Explore the new COVE Admin Tool

Thursday, October 28, 2010

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

PublicMediaCamp , or PubCamp for short, is a nationwide series of gathering focused on forging greater collaboration between public media organizations and their communities. Inspired by unconferences such as Foocamp and Barcamp, PubCamps are informal opportunities for techies and community media makers to get together with NPR and PBS staff and develop projects together. PBS and NPR, in conjunction with American University are once again hosting a “national” PubCamp this November and you’re all invited!

Signup for a ticket today at: ?

More information can be found at: ?

Or on Twitter at @publicmediacamp ??

Public Media Staff tickets are limited, so please signup early.??

Since we last unconferenced here in DC last October, 11 stations across the country have hosted their own local camps to strengthen the bond between public media entities and the public they serve.

Building upon the success of the last 12 months, we have big plans to make this year’s National PubCamp even more epic with more stations, more collaborations, and more public engagement. 

GA Interactive Producers,

Today, we proudly launch the new, powered by Merlin. This major initiative continues our mission to transform PBS from a linear television broadcaster to a multiplatform media organization. And soon, we will release the first general audience iPhone and iPad apps.

The new, powered by Merlin
As you know, Project Merlin and the redesign are top strategic priorities for PBS and a crucial piece to our mission to better serve the public. Building on the work started with COVE, we now have a unified, efficient infrastructure to serve both producers and stations.

PBS will become the first major television broadcaster to automatically provide customized local and national content together on its Web site. Our visitors now have instant access to national PBS content, integrated with locally produced offerings from the PBS station in their communities.

Best of all: The new dramatically increases the promotional opportunities for producer content to drive more traffic to your Web sites. The dynamic, media-rich experience will engage users in ways nobody else can.

Apps for iPhone and iPad
We’ve all felt the pressure to deliver content to our users across a wide range of platforms and ensure that more people can access PBS content on-demand. With our iPhone and iPad app, we are meeting that expectation. Now, your video content can be in the hands of your fans at any time in any place – from the waiting room to the airport.

The iPhone app will focus on tune-in, promoting upcoming programs and offering localized schedules with one-touch calendar reminders. The iPad focuses on full-length viewing, video shorts and web-exclusive series. We’re excited to showcase Masterpiece Mystery’s Sherlock later this month.

These are just two of many innovative projects we are working on at PBS. To learn more about any of our products or services, visit the PBS Producer Exchange site at

As exciting as our new tools and platforms are, they would be empty without the outstanding content you create every day. I want to thank you for your participation and the extra work that you are putting in these transformative projects.

Jason Seiken

Producers can now get information about the upcoming and iPad product launches, including FAQs, background information, social media resources and schedules.

The information is available here. (login required)

Next week will launch it’s redesigned home page that's powered by Merlin.  The site will allow us to promote PBS programs in many new ways.  There is more space  to feature a wide-range of national and local content.  Everyday members of the newly created Content and Promotions Team will program the site.  The team has developed an editorial calendar that highlights upcoming, recently aired, and web original programs. They will select the most engaging content from producer sites and COVE: videos, blogs, quizzes, games, and social media features.

Learn how each section of the home page will be programmed here.

The team welcomes PBS producers to bring upcoming programs and web site features to their attention. Producers can contact their PBSi program manager or Eric Freeland, Director of Online Programming and Promotion for more details.

COVE now works in Facebook

We are excited to announce that COVE videos can now play inside of Facebook!

Facebook is a proven source of immense traffic and we are excited to now make it even easier for users to interact with your content within this system.

To turn this feature on for your content all you have to do is enable the Viral Feature. This is as simple as going into the metadata form for your assets and setting the "Allow this video to be embedded" field to "yes".

Once this is done users will be able to embed your videos right on their Facebook Wall by simply clicking the Facebook button in the Share tab.

They can also share a video by pasting the video's URL from the PBS Video portal.

The player that shows up in Facebook is just an instance of the COVE Viral Player. It has all the same capbilities and business rules such as:

  • Pre-roll integration
  • Producer defined related links in the Details menu
  • A 20 minute maximum viewing time; after which the user is given a link where they can continue to watching.

This new feature is a huge opportunity for producers to tap into the substantial audience Facebook has. We encourage you to use your COVE videos for all marketing and promotional efforts you may have on Facebook moving forward.

We are excited to bring this feature to you and look forward to increased visibility it offers for your content.

Thank you to everyone who attended the iPhone and iPad preview webinar. Here are the presentation and materials referenced in the webinar:

If you have any additional questions, leave them in the comments below or email Matt Schoch .

We're going mobile! Get a sneak preview of the upcoming iPhone and iPad applications from PBS. We will demonstrate the key features and functionality as you tour our initial mobile offerings. You'll also learn about the editorial and content strategy for the applications and have opportunities to ask your questions.
Preview PBS' upcoming iPhone and iPad apps

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

UPDATE: As of today 10/20 this issue is resolved. The missing video files have been recovered and re-ingested by our team. All videos should be playing correctly now. Thank you for your patience and cooperation while we resolved this issue. We have made changes to our workflow that ensure this issue will not happen again.

-Dan Haggerty

UPDATE: As of 10am, Friday 10/15 we are still experiencing some errors in the system. The transferring became unclogged yesterday morning but we were still getting reports from producers of some videos not playing. Upon further investigation we saw that some videos had not made the transfer. Our developers ran a script and identified a small group of videos that didn't make it to the new CDN. They began manually transferring the missing files last night and their work continues this morning. They hope to have this issue resolved soon. Please check back to this blog post for further updates.

In our on-going effort to optimize video streaming in the COVE platform PBS has been migrating producer content to a new Content Delivery Network.(CDN)

Today, while continuing this work, the system got clogged-up.

Up to this point this had been a seamless process with no implications for the front-end user. When the system became congested today though some content disappeared from the portal and showed up as unavailable in Partner Player implementations.

Our developers are actively working to resolve this issue and they believe that things should be freed up within the next 12-24 hours. During this period if you have a video that has previously worked but now isn't, this is likely the cause. Please monitor your content and if after 24 hours you're still experiencing problems file a "Video" JIRA ticket.

We will add an update to this blog post when the issue is officially cleared up. We will also be revamping our process to ensure this doesn't happen again.

Please feel free to add any questions you may have to the comments section of this blog post. Also be sure to file a "Video" JIRA ticket or contact your program manager if you have a major launch that will be impacted by this issue.

We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to the optimized experience these changes will bring to your users. Thank you for your patience.

PBS has updated its policies for promoting related products on producer sites. The updated requirements state:

All new and redesigned sites with products available for purchase on ShopPBS must include:

  1. “Buy the DVD” or similar link in the site’s main navigation;
  2. A 300x60 ShopPBS module on the site’s homepage;
  3. Text links to “Buy the DVD” and “Download from iTunes” (or similar language) on the site’s Resources page, if one exists.

The ShopPBS module will be provided by your program manager. Producers are encouraged to consider more contextual calls to related products on ShopPBS, in addition to these requirements.

The new policy aims to streamline site production with a standard set of product promotion requirements, while also driving new revenue from increased product sales. If you have questions about the new policy, please post them below or reach out to your program manager.

A quick update on the updated producer global header and new global media bar and footer. (See Changes to Producer Sites )
One of our goals of the global headers is to provide a universal search experience that provides a better experience for both producers and our customers. While PBS' current implementation of the Google Search experience provides customers with an adequate search experience, it does not leverage the power of Merlin's meta-data layer or COVE video system.
In order to successfully implement this new global header, we feel strongly that the search technology must be improved to include relevant results from Merlin and COVE. As a result, we are holding off on deploying the universal header until the search experience has been improved.
In order to minimize the impact of implementation on producers, we will also delay the release of the media bar and footer until the global header and search development work is complete.

Merlin will be best be leveraged through the use of the meta-data that has been attached to content objects. Current implementations of Google Search Appliance provide us with minimal capabilities to leverage that meta-data. Therefore, PBS is in the process of developing a new search solution in cooperation with Ramp ( Ramp has a series of product offerings that will provide with an enhanced search experience, these features will include:

  • Advanced faceted search to enable us to filter results with "contextual" filters. IE, video duration, contextual keywords, programs...
  • integrated search for all formats including page search, audio, and video
  • automated video transcription which will provide us the with ability to present users with more relevant video results

Our current implementation currently has us targeting this fall for the rollout of search enhancements and header rollout.
We will also maintain our pledge to give producers as much lead time and testing time as possible for producers to test the new code for these global element.

Many of you may have heard of or used Meetup in the past. Recently, they launched a free platform called Meetup Everywhere for anyone utilize. They'd like to partner with PBS so if you're interested in using this platform for any of your upcoming events (perhaps for a screening or community outreach?) let us know and we can put you in touch with the folks at Meetup Everywhere.

You can learn more about the platform here:

There are some best practices available, as well:

Contact Ken Dykes ( for questions.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Best Practices for COVE and Merlin Metadata webinar. Here are the presentation and materials referenced in the webinar:

If you have any additional questions, leave them in the comments below or email Matt Schoch .