Americans Rate PBS and Its Member Stations Most Trusted Institution for the 15th Consecutive Year

Respondents in Nationwide Survey Say Local PBS Stations Provide “Excellent” Value to Their Communities

Parents Surveyed Rate PBS KIDS #1 Educational Media Brand

ARLINGTON, Va.--()--For 15 consecutive years, Americans have named PBS and its member stations #1 in public trust among nationally known institutions, according to a nationwide survey released today. PBS led other sectors of the media and government in the annual ranking, including digital platforms, commercial cable and broadcast television, courts of law, newspapers and social media.

Nearly 8 in 10 respondents (78% agreed that local PBS member stations provide an excellent value to their communities). In addition, PBS and member stations rank second only to the country’s military defense in terms of value for taxpayer dollars, with 65% of respondents calling it a “good” or “excellent” value. The vast majority of federal funding for public media, amounting to approximately $1.35 per citizen, goes directly to local stations and is especially critical to sustaining those in rural and underserved areas.

Parents rated PBS KIDS the #1 educational media brand for children, with the brand significantly outscoring cable and commercial broadcast television networks. Parents also said PBS KIDS was the top provider of content that helps prepare children for success in school and models positive social and emotional behaviors. In addition, PBS KIDS outperformed other providers as “a trusted and safe source” for children to watch television or play digital games and mobile apps, with content that is grounded in educational objectives. These findings closely follow the one-year anniversary of the launch of the 24/7 PBS KIDS channel and live stream, which is provided by member stations and now available to more than 95% of U.S. TV households.

“For 15 years running, research has shown that PBS and our member stations have earned the trust of the American public and are succeeding in providing children with programming and services to help them succeed in school and life,” said PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger. “In a time when trust in the media has come into question, we are proud that PBS and our member stations remain unmatched in trust and value to our nation.”

The national online poll was conducted in January 2018 by Marketing & Research Resources Inc. (M&RR).


PBS scores highly in trust and value across a range of questions.

  • For the 15th year, Americans rank PBS and its member stations the most-trusted institution among a consideration set that includes courts of law, commercial cable and broadcast television, newspapers, digital platforms and others. Thirty percent of respondents said they trust PBS “a great deal,” compared with the nearest-ranking responses, including digital platforms (17%), commercial cable television (15%) and courts of law (15%).
  • Americans rate PBS highly in terms of value for tax dollars. PBS ranked second in terms of taxpayer value, with 65% of respondents calling it a “good” or “excellent” value, behind only the country’s military defense (72%). PBS rated higher on this measure than other taxpayer-funded benefits such as oversight of food and drug safety (56%); Social Security (51%); and highways, roads and bridges (50%).
  • Nearly 8 in 10 people (78%) agree that PBS stations provide an excellent value to communities. In addition, 42% of respondents said it is “very important” for PBS to be available to every American, compared to those who said the same for commercial broadcast television (36%) and commercial cable television (21%).

PBS KIDS was ranked the #1 educational media brand, compared with a range of other children’s media providers.

  • Sixty-nine percent of parents with kids age 18 and under named PBS KIDS the most educational media brand, significantly outscoring the second-most highly rated kids brand, Disney Channel, which was considered most educational by 6%.
  • 87% of parents with kids under 18 agreed that PBS KIDS helps prepare children for success in school, ahead of Universal Kids (68%), Disney Jr. (66%) and Disney Channel (54%).
  • 88% of parents with kids under 18 agreed that PBS KIDS is “a trusted and safe source for children to watch television, or play digital games and mobile apps.” The brand outranked other choices such as Disney Jr. (77%), Disney Channel (77%) and Universal Kids (72%).

To learn more about how PBS and local member stations are trusted, valued and essential to communities across the country, visit

Survey Methodology

This survey was developed by PBS and conducted online within the United States, by Marketing & Research Resources Inc. (M&RR) on behalf of PBS from January 4-9, 2018, among 1,025 adults ages 18 and older. The sample included 495 men and 530 women. Survey results are weighted to be nationally representative of the U.S. adult population.

For complete survey methodology, please contact Aparna Kumar, PBS Corporate Communications, or 703-739-5751.

About PBS

PBS, with nearly 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 100 million people through television and nearly 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a new 24/7 channel, online at, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on TwitterFacebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

About Marketing & Research Resources Inc. (M&RR)

Since 1989, M&RR has served businesses nationwide with comprehensive market research — vital to decision-making. Renowned within their industry, M&RR serves America’s major consumer product manufacturers, service companies and advertising agencies with research strategy and design, data collection, analysis and reporting. Each year, M&RR fields hundreds of telephone, mail and internet-based studies involving more than 1,000,000 respondents.

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PBS Corporate Communications
Aparna Kumar, 703-739-5751

Release Summary

Americans have named PBS and its member stations #1 in public trust among nationally known institutions.


PBS Corporate Communications
Aparna Kumar, 703-739-5751