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The following message was sent to all producers via the gaproducer-l listserv today:

Dear Producers,
Happy New Year!
PBS Interactive (PBSi) is looking forward to an exciting year with the impending launch of the redesign and Project Merlin. With your feedback, we are also continuing to improve our Producer Product Offering, which includes our suite of video and social media tools as well as our dedicated hosting solution.
Last August, the Producer Products & Services (PP&S) team announced a moratorium on all Web site redesigns due to resource constraints while we focused on COVE, the redesign and Project Merlin. That redesign moratorium has now been lifted.
However, we are placing a set of guidelines on all new sites, redesigns and active sites. The purpose of these requirements, particularly compliance with Project Merlin, is to ensure that producer sites are aligned with PBSi's overall goals to drive more traffic to producer and local station sites, build new audiences and offer a more comprehensive, dynamic experience to our users.
The guidelines are as follows:

  • A business case and justification for a redesign must be approved by your PP&S Program Manager.
  • Certain tools offered by PBS will be mandatory as applicable. These include but are not limited to:
    • COVE-powered PBS partner player (if video is required)
    • PBS's universal authentication system (if authentication is required)
    • Other tools and services are not mandatory but will be highly encouraged
  • Participation in Project Merlin will be mandatory, including providing metadata based on PBS's specifications (these specifications will be added to the Web Policy Manual when ready).  In addition, integration of the new header and footer will be mandatory when available, and we will work with producers on the implementation.
  • All new and redesigned Web sites within the domain must carry standard sponsorship inventory. We have updated the Web Policy Manual with information about display units and video units. (Note: see page 3 of the Web Policy Manual for all changes). To discuss ownership issues of this inventory, producers should discuss their options directly with PBS Ventures. Your program manager can facilitate that discussion.

We look forward to working with all of you in 2010 to provide our audience with the best possible experience on
For further information, please contact your Program Manager. We also encourage you to subscribe to the Producer Exchange blog and Web site to receive regular updates from the PP&S team:
Jayme Swain
Director, Producer Products & Services