PBS can’t catch a break.
It seems like every year they have to deal with threats to their federal funding. And now, Apple has presented them with another hurdle to jump.
Earlier this month, the iPhone maker announced that they will restrict third-party advertising and analytics software in the apps listed in their kids’ category.
According to Vox, “the changes…would prevent PBS from being able to track whether its content and game features are working,” and it would limit how the non-profit broadcaster can improve its apps to make them better educational tools.
The restrictions, which will go into effect on September 3, are intended to improve privacy for children.
“We’ll have to pull down the apps,” said PBS chief Paula Kerger at a Recode conference in Arizona. “And we have millions of kids that are using our apps, so it’s a challenge.”
The PBS KIDS Video App provides thousands of free videos, full episodes of PBS KIDS’ series and the ability to watch episodes in real time as they’re airing. Some all time favorites: Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Curious George and Wild Kratts. PBS KIDS has been ranked the #1 educational media brand for kids. The app enables learning goals with each video.
Kerger added that PBS doesn’t sell anything to kids, suggesting that Apple’s restrictions on their content is unnecessary.
PBS has faced similar difficulties in the past. Last year, in an attempt to fight propaganda, YouTube decided to label all content that receives government funding. The unintended implication was that the federal government has influence over PBS programming. Such influence is prohibited by law.
And that’s not all. When Facebook incorrectly labeled PBS content as political ads, the broadcasting service was forced to remove that content. Kerger said it took nine months to resolve the problem.
PBS is currently talking with Apple about the new restrictions. Kerger hopes the two companies can work something out.
“We love working with all these platforms,” Kerger said. “It gives us amazing reach. Talk to us. Sit down and talk to us.”