PBS Distribution

From Audiovisual Identity Database


PBS Distribution (PBSd for short, formerly "PBS Video", and "PBS Home Video") was formed in the 1980s to distribute PBS programming on tape. Originally, the company has released videos under its own label "PBS Video", but they did not use a proper logo prior to 1990, and even then PBS Video remained a separate label, targeting the educational market. PBS Home Video went through a slew of distributors, such as Pacific Arts (1989-1994), Turner Home Entertainment (1994-1997), Warner Home Video (1997-2004), and Paramount Home Entertainment (2004-2011). In 2011, PBS formed a joint venture with WGBH Educational Foundation to expand their distribution operations, forcing PBS Home Video to sever their ties with Paramount, as well as merging their home video unit with WGBH Home Video, resulting in the creation of PBS Distribution. Today, PBSd handles distribution of not just PBS and PBS Kids product but also programming from fellow public TV distributor American Public Television and even a few children's programs that were never shown on PBS, including Regal Academy (which is released under its SkipRope banner).

PBS Home Video

1st Logo (September 26, 1990-1998)

Nicknames: "Transparent Blue P-Head on Video", "PBS P-Head", "P-Head in the Sky"

Logo: We fade to a P-head outline on a sky background framed with black. The lines from the 1989 PBS logo come from the right side of the screen and go into the P-head's eye, after which the sky background fills the screen and the P-Head reverts to its color from the 1989 TV Ident logo as "PBS HOME VIDEO" in the familiar ITC Lubalin Graph Bold font, in dark electric blue with rippling waves, fades in at the bottom of the screen.


  • At the end of tapes, only the animation with the lines going into the P-Head's eye plays. This closing variant was used until 1994.
  • A later short version shows the completed logo.

FX/SFX: The sky, the lines, the fade in of "PBS HOME VIDEO".

Music/Sounds/Voice-over: A quiet piano/string/flute sounder, followed by a female announcer saying "The following presentation is from PBS Home Video". Some tapes lack the announcer. The end variant uses the same opening melody, but ends with two piano/flute notes. At the end of some later tapes, the regular long music played with no voice-over. The other short version has no music.

Availability: Uncommon. Seen on PBS Home Video tapes from Pacific Arts and Turner Home Entertainment, though the end variant (both the long and short versions) is rare. On later tapes (such as Adventures from the Book of Virtues), the national PBS logo in use at the time (or just the Turner logo, as seen on most Baseball tapes) appears instead. The later short version appears on Warner Resound's prints of Adventures from the Book of Virtues and Crusade: The Life of Billy Graham.

Legacy: This is a peaceful logo.

2nd Logo (2000-2004)

Nicknames: "PBS P-Head II", "Circle PBS P-Head"

Logo: On a white background fading to a yellow-tinted version of the 8th PBS logo's background, three P-head circles (one vermilion, one green, and one dodger blue) zoom out and merge to form a fuchsia P-head circle. When "PBS HOME VIDEO" ("PBS DVD" on DVD releases) fades in, the P-head circle turns black.

FX/SFX: The merging of the circles.

Music/Sounds: A funky drum/bass riff with a light "ding", followed by a mellow synth-piano remix of the 1998 PBS logo's music.

Availability: Fairly common. Seen on PBS Home Video and DVD releases from Warner Home Video, such as The Secret Life of the Brain. It didn't start to be used until PBS started releasing DVDs in 2000.

3rd Logo (2004-2009)

Nicknames: "PBS P-Head III", "Circle PBS P-Head II"

Logo: Two lens flares cascade across a black background, causing an explosion that reveals several zooming layers of the PBS P-Head logo, all now against a blue/pink/red gradient background with a bubblegum pink motif in the center. A black circle zooms in as the features of the P-Head slide into it, as the letter "P" and then "BS" slide in next to the circle in its corporate font. The background continues to shine.

FX/SFX: Great CGI.

Music/Sounds: Same as the 2002 PBS logo.

Availability: Uncommon. It appeared on PBS DVD and Blu-ray releases from Paramount Home Entertainment until 2009, as well as certain PBS video podcasts from the time (always shortened). It also appears on a 2016 DVD of Castle, a reprint from 2006.

PBS Distribution


Nicknames: "Be More", "Be More, PBS", "PBS P-Head IV", "Circle PBS P-Head III"

Logo: Just the blue custom variant of the current 2009 PBS logo with no distribution indicator whatsoever.

FX/SFX: Same as the 2009 PBS logo.

Music/Sounds/Voice-over: Same as the 2009 PBS logo, with no voice-over.

Availability: Currently in use on PBS DVD and Blu-ray releases.

Legacy: Same as the 2009 PBS logo.

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