PBS is starting a new 24-hour channel dedicated solely to children’s programming.
The channel, which will be called PBS Kids and will be announced Tuesday, will be free. It is expected to debut later this year, most likely in the fall. PBS Kids also will be available online with a live stream.
More children’s programming is available than ever, much of it being watched through streaming services and on-demand.
Netflix has significantly increased its children’s offerings in recent years, and it is expected to have 35 original series for children by year’s end.
Last month, HBO began broadcasting the latest season of “Sesame Street,” after it took over first-run rights for the series from PBS. HBO has said more children’s programming is coming, and Amazon has also produced shows aimed at that demographic.
The channel will include PBS series “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Odd Squad,” “Dinosaur Train” and “Wild Kratts” as well as new shows “Nature Cat” and “Ready Jet Go!”
PBS Kids will exist as a subchannel. Other PBS subchannels include World (which airs mostly documentaries) and Create (which broadcasts shows dedicated to topics like cooking and travel).
PBS said the children’s channel was not created with a hope of lifting fundraising efforts, despite the recent loss of the first-air rights to “Sesame Street.”
“This is not designed in and of itself as a fundraising effort,” said Paula Kerger, the chief executive of PBS.
The broadcaster said the new channel would be distinguished from other children’s programming for the same reason PBS’ programming has always stood out: It is free, with an emphasis on educational content.
“There’s a huge distinction between the content that’s available through other media providers and PBS,” said Lesli Rotenberg, the broadcaster’s general manager of children’s programming. “Even though there may be more, there isn’t necessarily more educational content for kids.”
PBS said that its live stream would also offer educational game opportunities for children.
Rotenberg said that PBS’ online games received twice as many page views and significantly more users than videos.