Young children — and their parents — love and enjoy Sesame Street and all of the award-winning childrens’ programming seen on SOPTV and public television stations across the country. When Governor Mitt Romney prioritized defunding "Big Bird" and PBS to reduce the federal deficit during the first presidential debate, Big Bird became one of the most trafficked Twitter subjects, reaching 17,000 tweets per minute.
When asked about Governor Romney’s comment on Saturday Night Live, Big Bird stated, "I don’t want to ruffle any feathers." Such statesmanship on the part of Big Bird, an 8-foot tall yellow bird who remains just seven years old, is consistent with the values and themes that Sesame Street has shared with America’s children for generations.
In the United States, people consider public broadcasting the best investment of federal funds, second only to national defense. And support for public broadcasting runs all across the political spectrum — a rare achievement in a polarized political environment.
Government funding is only a portion of what keeps SOPTV on the air. Consider these important facts:
- The federal investment in public broadcasting represents about 100th of one percent of the total federal budget. Terminating this investment would have virtually no effect on the federal budget deficit, but it would have a devastating effect on the viability of public broadcasting.
- More than half of all Americans use public broadcasting every month, with 170,000,000 Americans connecting through 368 public television stations, 934 public radio stations, hundreds of online services, and in-person events and activities. Over the course of a year, 91% of all U.S. television households tune in to their local PBS station. In fact, our service is watched by 81% of all children between the ages of two and eight.
- Annual federal funding of public broadcasting in the U.S. is $1.37 per taxpayer — or roughly $2.74 per household. The BBC in Great Britain receives about $218 per household. The Swiss government provides $480 per household for public television.
- For every $1.00 of federal funding invested, PBS raises an additional $6.00 on its own — a highly effective public-private partnership.
- For more than 40 years, Big Bird has embodied the public broadcasting mission — harnessing the power of media for the good of citizens, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. Our system serves as a universally accessible resource for education, history, science, art, and civil discourse.
Sesame Street works for America’s children and their parents. Think about it. And then Take Action: Call your Representatives in Congress and let them know how you feel about SOPTV and public broadcasting. "Like us" on Facebook and join the 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting and show your support however you can.
President & CEO