PBS America is a British television channel derived from the American non-profit television network PBS. It is a joint venture between entrepreneur David Lyons and PBS Distribution, which owns the international rights to the bulk of PBS’s output.
PBS America operates much like BBC Worldwide, a profit-making enterprise managed separately from the main non-profit, publicly financed arm, that will ideally generate money for its parent. It is provided by cable and satellite operators as part of their channel packages and carries advertising. Unlike PBS in the United States it does not solicit donations from viewers.
PBS America launched on 1 November 2011 (as PBS UK) via satellite on Sky and via cable on Virgin Media. On 23 August 2011, PBS UK launched a placeholder channel called Rosa on Sky channel 231, however they were able to acquire the more prominent channel 166 EPG slot from Information TV for use from launch. On 28 October 2011, a barker channel for PBS UK was added to Virgin Media channel 243. The cable operator has also secured the rights to offer PBS content on its video on demand service, including the Virgin Media Player.
On 19 April 2012, the channel’s Sky EPG slot was put up for sale, with seven figure offers anticipated by broker Canis Media. While PBS UK wasn’t closing, they were considering moving from the Entertainment genre to Documentaries. On Virgin Media, the channel is already positioned in the equivalent Factual genre. On 16 July, Canis Media confirmed that PBS had received numerous offers for the slot but they had fallen below expectations. PBS decided to stay in the Entertainment genre, while remaining interested in moving genre and keeping the slot on the market.
On 24 July 2013, PBS America moved to the Documentaries section on Sky channel 534, having sold its previous slot to UKTV.