miptv 17-19 april 2023 palais des festivals, cannes

Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

Ken Burns’ COUNTRY MUSIC triples PBS’s prime time average

The audience for COUNTRY MUSIC extends Ken Burns‘ run as the high-performing PBS documentarian.

  • The average audience over 8 episodes was 4.42 million.
  • That’s more that 3x the PBS average for prime (1.24 million).
  • And slightly higher than the average for the VIETNAM series (4.38 million).
  • COUNTRY MUSIC maintained its audience, even returning to peak levels for the finale.
  • That’s unlike the steady decline for VIETNAM, when PBS viewers in their millions lost their appetite for a series about that cruel, distant and lost war.


  • It’s no longer useful to dismiss the PBS audience as old and non-commercial.
  • The channels are steadily losing reach through cord-cutting and their audience through the defection of all but hard-core viewers to the unrated streamers.
  • The sustained scale, measurability and relative loyalty of its audience make PBS an attractive contributor to the documentary eco-system.
  • And btw, I wish that PBS / CPB would share their considerable funding for Ken Burns’ projects with the many younger producers who are more than capable of refreshing his signature documentary franchise.

And More…