The Operationalizing Producer Inventory, Policies & Requirements document provides all necessary guidelines for monetizing digital inventory on PBS producer sites.

Key Contacts

  • Gina Felix - (gmfelix@pbs.org) - for high level policy questions and requests for exceptions and day-to-day operations, including: managing category exclusivity information, creative review, inventory allocations/projections
  • Matt Vogrin – (mrvogrin@pbs.org) - for operations including trafficking creative and reporting, etc.
  • Brett Robinson –  (brobinson@npr.org) - for wholesale inventory purchases and passing of leads, representative for NPM (National Public Media)
  • Karen Baile – (kbaile@pbs.org) - for monetization strategy

Type of Inventory

The inventory covered by these policies includes:

  1. Display: the IAB standard unit that is required on every page of PBS.org
    1. For new sites, the 300x250 pixel large rectangle
    2. For legacy sites, the 728x90 pixel leaderboard above the PBS global navigation bar
  2. Sponsor Logos:
    1. Each logo must be 120x60 pixels
    2. Up to 3 Sponsors can be recognized on the Show Page
  3. In-stream Video:
    1. Pre-roll up to 30 seconds in length, and companion unit (where present) with every video stream of 3 minutes or longer in the PBS COVE video ecosystem. The companion display unit is 728x90 pixels in size and its presence is dependent on the player environment.
      1. Video plus companion unit will be distributed on video pages throughout the PBS.org video portal and station players. The companion display unit is tied to the respective in-stream video message played in the video portal and is persistent throughout the video or until the next in-stream message and companion is displayed.
      2. Video without companion will be distributed via the partner player on program web sites as well as via a viral player that may be distributed to third party sites.
    2. A mid-roll (if available in chapterized streams), up to 30 seconds in length, with every video stream over 20 minutes. And an additional mid-roll up to 30 seconds in length with every video stream over 40 minutes.
    3. OTT platforms do not include mid-roll breaks.

Inventory is centrally managed and served by PBS. Display units and in-stream video messages and companions are delivered through Google Doubleclick for Publishers (DFP).

Additional Inventory

All on-air sponsors can also be recognized in the PBS video portal in text adjacent to the streaming video window.

  1. Producer can provide PBS with a text message up to 500 characters (additional characters are allowed in the backend to accommodate hyperlinks and HTML coding).
  2. Preferred format:  “Funding for  (Show Name) is provided by (XYZ Company)
  3. The company name can be hyperlinked to the company web site or URL provided by Producer.
  4. Placement is not subject to Inventory or Revenue share rules.

Creative Review and Submission 

All digital funder creative must be reviewed and approved by PBS, per the current online sponsorship guidelines.  http://nationalpublicmedia.com/specs/creative-details/

Producers should submit funder banner creative and pre-roll to Gina Felix (gmfelix@pbs.org) and Matt Vogrin (mrvogrin@pbs.org) at least 5 business days prior to start date. New creative will be launched Monday thru Thursday. Creative will not be launched Friday thru Sunday.

If a video credit is already approved for on-air use, then it is automatically approved for online streaming, however, the producer must ensure that all rights cleared for on-air use are also cleared for online use. 

Monetization Models 

PBS has established two monetization models for inventory appearing on program web pages and program steams online:

  1. Revenue Share model  - For programs that do not have an active sales team, or one-off programs that were not able to secure corporate funding prior to broadcast.
    1. Program sites will be entered into the general sponsorship pool managed and sold by PBS and producers will receive a share of the revenue. 
    2. This is the default monetization model for all programs on PBS.org.  A producer must specifically reach out to PBS if they would like to participate in the Inventory Share model.
  2. Inventory Share model - For ongoing programs that have an active sales team seeking corporate on-air or cross-platform production funding.
    1. A share of the total site inventory will be available for producers to recognize program sponsors.  This share is based on the percentage of the on-air corporate funding pod that has been sold by the producer.
    2. In this model, no revenue share or other compensation needs to be paid to PBS to secure this inventory.
    3. PBS will place the remaining inventory in the general online sponsorship pool in order to generate additional revenue to support online operations.
    4. In this model, PBS pays no revenue share back to the producer.
  3. Wholesale purchase (optional)
    1. Applies to producers that operate under the Inventory Share model.
    2. Station/producer sales teams can sell digital-only inventory – as available -- for their programs, on a case-by-case basis. Contact Gina Felix (gmfelix@pbs.org)
    3. This inventory may be purchased from NPM (National Public Media) at a wholesale rate, and the station/producer sales team may keep any incremental revenue from the sale. 
    4. Wholesale rates will be reviewed quarterly. 

Revenue Allocation (for Revenue Share model only)

PBS will provide a 50-50 revenue share, net of costs, to program producers from all paid sponsorship units that appear on program pages or adjacent to video. Costs include sales commission (30%) and administrative overhead (20%)

PBS will calculate revenue shares with producers twice per fiscal year – at the end of December and June respectively. PBS fiscal year is July-June. Revenue shares will be paid within 30 days of the close of those months.  

PBS will only disperse shares of $500 or more for any given pay period. If a $500 share is not reached at the end of the first half of the fiscal year, then that amount will roll over to be paid in the second half of the year.  If, by the end of the full fiscal year, the $500 is still not reached, then a revenue share will not be paid to the producer for that year.  

Inventory Allocation (for Inventory Share model only)

Per the inventory share model, a portion of the program sponsorship inventory can be assigned to producers to acknowledge corporate funders. This percentage is based on the corporate funding pod which is 60 seconds in length. Foundation funders are not included in this calculation.

  • The maximum share available for sponsor recognition will be 75% and is equal to the percentage of the on-air sponsorship pod that is sold. For example:
    • If 30 of the 60 seconds available within the on-air pod are used for sponsor recognition, 50% of the online inventory across the program site and video will be available to recognize the program sponsor(s).
    • If all 60 seconds within the on-air pod are used for sponsor recognition, 75% of the online inventory across the program site and video will be available to recognize program sponsor(s).
    • For all programs, a minimum of 25% of the total online inventory will be reserved for PBS use, but exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for programs that have a sole corporate sponsor who has made an extraordinary contribution to the program.

Inventory allocation will be calculated as follows:

  • PBS will use information provided by producer about funder pod time to calculate the percentage share due.   
  • Each quarter, PBS will apply this percentage to traffic/ad impression history to arrive at a quarterly estimate for both display and video.
    • PBS will look at data from the same quarter of the previous year to come up with impression projections for the upcoming quarter.  
    • Video and display projections will be broken out separately.
    • PBS will also consider seasonal traffic patterns and adjust projections accordingly.  If, during a given quarter, actual impressions are trending to vary widely from projected impressions, PBS may adjust the impressions assigned to the program for the remainder of the quarter. This will not be done without consultation and approval by the producer.  
    • If a new sponsor comes on board during a quarter in progress, PBS will project impressions for the remainder of the quarter.  Updated/new impression levels will be sent to producers.
  • PBS will share inventory projections with producer two weeks before the start of the next quarter. Producer must provide written feedback to PBS within 5 business days.  
  • Unless producer objects, PBS will allocate the projected impressions to existing program sites for the following quarter, or until the sponsorship term ends.  
  • Your primary point of contact for inventory allocation is Gina Felix (gmfelix@pbs.org). 

Producers may supplement their allocated impressions with additional program inventory, as available, by purchasing impressions at established wholesale rates directly from NPM (National Public Media). NPM orders already in place will count against availability. 

Wholesale rates will be calculated quarterly and will be 25% below the previous quarter gross effective CPMs across PBS digital properties.  For example, if the effective CPM on PBS.org for Q1 is $12, then the wholesale rate for Q2 will be $9.  Please contact Gina Felix (gmfelix@pbs.org ) or Brett Robinson at NPM (brobinson@npr.org) for the current wholesale rates.

Producer Obligations

  • Producer must report the following to PBS (Gina Felix at gmfelix@pbs.org) for each sponsor at least 30 days prior to the campaign start date:
    • Program name
    • Sponsor company name (once contract is signed)
    • Sponsorship term (start/end date)
    • Length of on-air credit
  • Producer must respond to/approve impression projections each quarter per the timeframe outlined above.
  • Producer should provide at least 60 days notice if a funder is being dropped from a program, at which time the inventory will be relinquished to PBS.
  • Producer must provide creative to run in the allocated inventory that fits PBS Guidelines and Technical specs.
    • Creative can be updated once per month, per campaign, for each program/series. 
      • Producers may submit several different creatives from a single funder that can be rotated during a single campaign.
  • Producer must work with NPM (National Public Media) directly to purchase inventory at the wholesale rate. Contact Brett Robinson (brobinson@npr.org)

PBS Obligations

  • PBS will traffic creative on behalf of the producer.
  • PBS will calculate quarterly impressions.
  • PBS will share reports with producers on a monthly basis.
  • PBS will work with NPM (National Public Media) to re-allocate impressions as new funders come on board

Category Exclusivity (for Inventory Share model only)

PBS will honor producer-reported category exclusivity on program site pages and in the PBS video platforms per the following threshold:

  • If an ongoing series funder, at least $1M gross revenue from a single sponsor
  • If an individual episode or short series, at least $250,000 per episode from a single sponsor.

Accurate management of category exclusivity will require close communication between producers, PBS and NPM (National Public Media). Producers should communicate all category exclusivity needs to PBS. PBS will coordinate and share info with NPM in their requested format.

Producers should report any category exclusivity violations or problematic display of video ads to Gina Felix (gmfelix@pbs.org) and Matt Vogrin (mrvogrin@pbs.org). PBS will use its best efforts to block or remove any problematic campaign from a program stream or program site within 24-hours, during business hours.  

Producer Obligations

Please note that sponsorship amounts are required with requests for category exclusivity and will not be shared with other producers or NPM (National Public Media). Amounts are only used to verify that a sponsorship meets the threshold for category exclusivity.


For the Inventory Share model, PBS can provide campaign reporting on a monthly basis, upon request.  These reports will provide a picture of how funder campaigns are performing. Reports will contain the following data points for both display and video:

  • Campaign/sponsor name
  • Creative name
  • Impressions delivered
  • Clicks
  • Click through rate

For the Revenue Share model, PBS will provide reporting with revenue share disbursements twice per year. These reports will provide an overall picture of how much program inventory was used for campaigns sold by PBS. Reports will contain the following data points for both display and video:

  • Paid impressions delivered by month (broken out by site if a producer has multiple sites)
  • Overall revenue earned
  • Commission/overhead deductions
  • Net revenue to producer

Display Implementation 

For new sites, producers must design a 300x250 unit into all pages. PBS will provide the ad server code and instructions to producers for the 300x250 unit. Producers should request this code at least three weeks before site launch.

Video Implementation 

Video message capability is automatically built into the COVE infrastructure. No technical work is required by the producer. Metadata entered into the Platform is passed to the video and ad server in the form of tags that can be targeted.


PBS understands the need to balance production funder recognition with its digital sponsorship business, and thus, exceptions to one or more of these policies must be made.  PBS is committed to working with producers to ensure that their concerns are being addressed.  For exceptions, please contact Gina Felix (gmfelix@pbs.org).