PBS is releasing shows on the video site Hulu, but incorporating advertising with a revenue sharing plan. The New York Times Bits blog discusses the move with Andrew Russell, senior vice president of PBS Ventures:
PBS has moved online slowly, and right now it makes only a small fraction of its content available over the Internet. One reason is the complexity of the rights to its programs. Nova, for example, is produced by WGBH in Boston, which acquires individual episodes from various production companies. Only in some cases does PBS actually have the rights to distribute shows online.
Mr. Russell said that by exploring digital distribution with the programs that the network does have rights to, it hopes to build the case to show that producers should let it distribute their shows online. This means offering them a good share of the advertising revenue or download fees. The online deals also show corporate and foundation sponsors that the programs are reaching
a wider audience.