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APT Syndication seeks out and secures programming from domestic and foreign producers and sells it to interested public television stations. This service acquires and distributes many popular genres, including dramas, comedies, documentaries, musical performances, feature film packages and more. (Syndication does not represent children's programs, how-to/lifestyle, game shows, public affairs, magazine shows or foreign language films/documentaries.)
At a minimum of three national screenings each year, Syndication offers public television stations an array of series and specials. These screenings are true markets, where a commitment by a station signifies its decision to purchase and broadcast a program. Additional special offers may also happen throughout the year to capitalize on timely programming opportunities. Through the successful organization of group buys by a subset of stations, Syndication brings to contract approximately 100 titles annually. Syndication’s current catalog contains more than 250 titles.
We advise you to call or e-mail syndication@APTonline.org before submitting a program consideration. We generally screen unsolicited programs last. APT Syndication WILL NOT consider the following genres: children's, how-to/lifestyle, game shows, public affairs, magazine shows or foreign language films/documentaries.
Once we determine if your program is a good fit for public television, you may then send us a DVD screener with accompanying printed information.
We will notify you within four to six weeks of program submission if we would like to formally offer your program at our next screening/teleconference. At that point, terms and conditions of the offer will be negotiated. Syndication programs will reach the contract stage if an agreed-upon minimum dollar figure is reached.
Our selection criteria are subjective. Because stations purchase programs out of discretionary acquisition dollars, qualifying as a "good program" isn't enough. We use our experience (and frequent conversations with programmers across the country) to assess the types of programs likely to draw an audience or meet local scheduling needs. We evaluate programs based on their individual merit, what American Public Television and PBS already distribute and what we perceive as windows of opportunity for a given program or genre. License fees depend upon the number of stations wishing to purchase and the size of those markets.
Producers are expected to obtain Errors and Omissions Insurance before a program/series can go to contract; insurance must be in place at the start of the contract period. Closed captioning for the hearing impaired of final master tape is now required so that stations broadcasting the program will be in compliance with standards set by the Federal Communications Commission. There are no costs other than materials, insurance and closed captioning requirements.
If we go to contract, American Public Television will share with a producer/supplier the list of stations that voted to purchase and/or broadcast your program. However, since the stations will schedule the program/series where it best meets their individual needs (and because individual station schedules are subject to change), American Public Television does not necessarily know when your program will be scheduled. It is up to the producer to follow up with the stations to ascertain specific carriage information. Suppliers may also subscribe annually to American Public Television's Carriage service for weekly or monthly reports.
Producers will need to provide the following materials:
Underwriting, while permitted for Syndication programs, should be in place at the time the offer is made and must adhere to American Public Television's underwriting guidelines. "Surprise" underwriters — secured after the official offer — are not permitted. Stations are reluctant to spend discretionary dollars for programming already funded by other sources.
Product offers are permitted but must meet American Public Television's guidelines and must be mentioned in the original offer to stations (video merchandise tags negotiated after a program offer run a higher risk of being edited off for broadcast by the local stations). Revenue sharing with American Public Television is a requirement for any product offer/merchandise tag.