Blog from December, 2011

With the New Year fast approaching, please make sure your site footers are updated with 2012 copyright information.

E.g. Copyright 1995- 2012. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). All Rights Reserved.

We'll see you in 2012!

Hello Producers,

We are happy to announce a change in our one-URL policy. PBS now allows show specific URL’s (for example, in Web markers and Web tags. 

If you have an active program with PBS, please contact your PBS Interactive Program Manager to get approval for the URL you want to mention in your Web tag.  Once that URL has been approved, it will be shared with your Senior Programming Associate in PBS Programming, who has final say for on-air Web tag and Web marker presentation. PBS Interactive does not oversee the specific execution of the on-air tag, such as voice-overs or teases.  This will continue to be reviewed and approved by your Senior Programming Associate.

PBSi will be tracking the effects of the one-URL rule on traffic throughout Since fewer viewers may see the home page, we will be reaching out to all of you on how you can provide better cross-promotion to other producers and PBS priorities.

Additionally, ongoing series producers may now mention their presence on Facebook and Twitter in their end-of-show Web tag with language such as “Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.” All other programs may mention PBS’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts. Twitter and Facebook logos are permitted too, but must be minimal. Facebook and Twitter URLs are never permitted on-air.

Twitter hashtags and talent-specific account mentions are permitted for on-going series or designated promotional priorities with the prior approval of your Interactive Program Manager. These are permitted in both Web markers appearing during the broadcast and Web tags at the end of the program. Hashtags are generally expected to be series-specific rather than episode- or content-specific. On-air talent may identify their Twitter account only when contextually relevant in the program.

As with the one-URL rule, you must first get approval for your Twitter hashtag from your Interactive Program Manager.

This policy is now reflected in the Interactive section of the PBS Red Book:


Sarah Melville, Kevin Dando & Jayme Swain

An update to the COVE Partner Player was rolled out this morning. (12/15/11)

Now when the Partner Player loads on a web-page it loads with the lower control bar visible to the user.

                                              (click the image to view full size)

Prior to today when the Partner Player loaded on a page the user just saw the poster image with a play button over it. 

We kept hearing from producers that they felt this experience was just too stripped down; too basic. They said the player looked too much like just an image when it loaded on the page and they wanted something that looked more like a video player. 

So we brainstormed some solutions and decided that the quickest way to improve the experience was to just surface the control bar when the player first loaded.

This solution also has the added benefit of giving the user access to the Social Media sharing features of the player (Facebook, Twitter, Viral Feature) without having to first play the video. 

Additionally, we also updated the Play button that appears over the poster image when the player first loads. (circled in red below)

This button is now consistent with the one that appears when you pause a video. It is also a bit more transparent so it won't cover up any important parts of the poster image. This change to the play button will also appear in the Viral Player.

All deployed instances of the Partner Player and Viral Player were automatically updated this morning. There is no need to update any code on your site.

We are excited to bring this upgrade to you and are grateful for your feedback. Your suggestions were a big part of this improvement to the user experience.

Please let us know what you think of this new feature in the comments section below this blog post. We look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks to all who participated in last week’s Interactive Summit.  You made our first combined summit with the Station Advisory Council a complete success!  It was great to bring so many people together for the first time. 

For your convenience we have uploaded a handful of the summit presentations and resources online.  Many of these decks are for internal use only, so we've placed them in Confluence where you will have to use your user name and password to log-in. (Quick hint: This is the same username you use to login to Producer Exchange and/ or Jira). Summits

For those who did not get a chance to fill out their summit surveys, please take a moment to do so here:

If you attended the pre-Summit workshop and did not return the workshop evaluation, you can do so online here:

We're always looking for new ways to improve these summits each year and appreciate your feedback.  Of course, please feel free to use the comment space below to add your thoughts as well. 

Thanks again for making this such a successful event!

COVE 2.0 Available Date bug

UPDATE on 1/9/12. This bug has been fixed. In the Legacy COVE Admin Tool producers can now set their Available Date/Time (in PST) and their video will publish at the time they have set. (keeping in mind standard publishing times). Please file a Video JIRA ticket if you experience any further problems with this feature.

The PBS team recently uncovered a bug in the Legacy COVE Admin that is preventing COVE from publishing video when an Available Date/Time is set in the future. 

This means that when a producer sets a date/time in the Available Date field in the Legacy COVE Admin Tool and publishes their video that video does not go live to users at that future date/time.

This bug does not exist for videos that get published immediately. If you publish a video with an Available Date of "Immediately" that video does indeed go live immediately.

Our team is working to resolve this bug as soon as possible.

Until then, producers should not rely on the ability to set videos to go live in the future. You should only publish videos immediately.

We apologize for this inconvenience and we will be sure to notify you as soon as this issue is resolved and you can again set videos to go live at future dates/time.

Please contact your Program Manger or Dan Haggerty ( if you have any questions or concerns.

As promised, our team was able to reduce the cache times for publishing from the Legacy COVE Admin to the new COVE 2.0 portal. This means that publishing should be significantly faster than the 80-minute maximum that COVE 2.0 was launched with.

Let us know just how fast publishing is working for you in the comments section below.