“Pay for Play Productions” – producers offer to produce a program about your business or organization in exchange for fees or production costs, and claim the ability to feature the program on "National Public Television" or as "PBS programming".
A “Pay for Play Production” may take multiple forms. For example, a producer may contact a business and offer to create a short spot about the business that will be aired in between popular PBS programs, or contact a community organization and offer to produce a long-form program highlighting and publicizing the group, but in each case the business or organization must pay a fee for the services or reimburse the producer for costs. PBS is not associated with these producers and does not endorse, distribute, review underwriting for, or otherwise have any business relationship with these shows. PBS policies prohibit producers from requesting fees or accepting cost reimbursement from the subjects of its programming. And while these producers and companies may have content broadcast on public TV or PBS member stations, they do not have a direct relationship with PBS. PBS is not a television network, and a producer cannot guarantee broadcasting “on PBS” or its member stations. PBS acquires and distributes programming on behalf of its member stations, but each station is autonomous, makes its own programming and scheduling decisions, and may produce content or maintain relationships with producers. An organization should carefully consider working with any producer requiring fees or costs of production and report them to PBS at http://www.pbs.org/about/contact/viewer-services/.
The following articles have exemplary information about these types of producers:
- Farhi, Paul, “Production Firms Stir Suspicion Among Networks, Would-Be Clients,” The Washington Post, Dec. 26, 2012, http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/production-firms-stir-suspicion-among-networks-would-be-clients/2012/12/26/d6eda81a-4a04-11e2-ad54-580638ede391_story.html
- Folkenflik, David, “Sold Documentaries On Public TV, Firms Get Ads,” All Things Considered on National Public Radio, April 20, 2010, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126056182
- Strom, Stephanie, “Company Pitches a Television Production, and Nonprofit Groups Are Wary,” The New York Times, August 16, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/16/us/16pitch.html?_r=1&