This section has been completely revised based on the new COVE products for producers.

  • Producers are responsible for knowing the online rights to their video.
  • Producers must use COVE products for all their online video.
  • Producers must deliver the Core Content Package for each video asset.
  • Video and related metadata must meet all technical specifications, and quality standards.
  • All video must be containerized (video is stripped of all funder and sponsorship messages)
  • Producers must not obscure ad inventory with their COVE Partner Player implementations.
  • COVE does not support video podcasting. Producers must follow general PBS podcasting guidelines though.

Video Rights

The producer is responsible for knowing and maintaining the rights they have to their online video. It is the producer's responsibility to communicate those rights to PBS, work with PBS to develop a content strategy around those rights and apply those business rules to the content in the delivery platform.

Delivery Platform

All online video the producer has the rights to distribute must be ingested into PBS's COVE (Comprehensive Online Video Ecosystem) platform. The producer must then use the PBS approved COVE products to distribute that content online.

PBS approved COVE products consist of the following:

  • PBS Video portal
  • COVE Partner Player - For use on Producer websites

New PBS Digital producers must work with their program manager to complete the COVE On-Boarding process.

Core Content Package

The producer must deliver the following files for each video asset they ingest to COVE.

  1. Program body, web-delivery profile file

  2. Mezzanine image: 1920x1080 pixels – required for full-length content (see specs)

    1. For additional content types (i.e. Web exclusive, excerpt or promotional) a 1920x1080 image is still preferred .

  3. Chapter Thumbnail (optional) - 142x60 pixels

  4. Transcript file (ASCII text file) or link to transcript text in HTML page on producer website. (details)
  5. Program body closed captioning file

The Core Content Package for each video asset must be delivered in line with its broadcast or associated broadcast element.

  • For seasonal series, tent-poles and pop-outs "In line with broadcast" means: 2 weeks prior to broadcast
  • For daily or weekly series "In line with broadcast" means: Within 24-hours of broadcast

Video Specifications and Standards

PBS's approved encoding standards dictate the codecs, dimensions, and bitrate required for the COVE platform.

The producer must deliver video to COVE technical specifications.

Video Quality: It is the producer's responsibility to deliver professionally encoded video that meets basic standards of quality. This includes reviewing for the following key attributes and pitfalls:

  • Cropping and letterboxing
  • Color and saturation
  • Levels/contrast/gamma
  • Artifacting/blocking
  • Interlacing
  • audio in sync with video

If a video is determined by PBS to not meet these standards, the producer will be required to re-encode the video to meet these standards.

Funder Recognition

The producer is responsible for delivering "containerized" video. Containerization is a process where the funder pod and all other extraneous elements are removed from the program so it is in its most base state. Examples of extraneous elements are; excisable content, next-on teases, dvd offers, split screens and web tags. 

The producer then must work with PBS to develop a strategy around how those funders will be recognized within the COVE Platform and product line. Please see the Sponsorship Acknowledgement section for details.

Metadata and Image Standards

The producer must adhere to the standards for metadata, text and images detailed in the PBS Video Style guide and the Merlin Editorial Guide.

The producer is responsible for maintaining tagging best practices, assigning their programs to all appropriate COVE topic categories, and chapterizing their content.

Partner Player Implementation

Producers cannot customize their partner player implementations in a way that obscures PBS online sponsorship inventory.  With regards to overlays, PBS will allow an overlay to be implemented on producer pages with embedded video, however, that overlay may not cover or otherwise obscure the sponsorship banner present on the background page.  The overlay will need to be implemented by the producer, and it will live outside of the Partner player.


The PBS Video Platform, COVE, currently does not support video podcasting. Please see the Podcasting section of the Web Policy Manual for PBS guidelines on this subject. If COVE does eventually support video podcasting though, the producer will be required to use COVE for this distribution method.


  1. The Partner Player Implementation you have described seems problematic to me.  Because the player is in an iframe that producers don't control, we're not able (afaik) to capture any play/pause/stop events occurring within that iframe and use them to trigger events on our pages (like, say, activating and deactivating the overlay).

    1. Hi Molly, thanks for the comment. It's helpful to get this type of feedback from the people actually working with the tools. Let me circle back with the team here to provide some clarity.