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…