For the last two years, PBS has been hard at work building a powerful new platform to distribute local and national PBS content across the Internet. The cutting-edge initiative, codenamed Project Merlin, has been designed to ensure that PBS.org and other PBS digital products will preserve the editorial integrity and station autonomy that has defined PBS television programming for the last 40 years. As more media migrates from TV sets to the Internet, Merlin will provide a way to maintain the high-quality local content and strong community relationships that local audiences expect from PBS stations.
Like any interactive development project, Merlin hasn't always been the easiest product to build. We certainly had days where our wizard hats were droopy and our Merlin beards looked a bit more scraggly than usual... but in the end, our hard work paid off - and it wouldn't have been possible without the incredible feedback and assistance we received from PBS stations from across the system: Thank You!
About two weeks ago, Merlin made its public debut as the infrastructure supporting the newly redesigned PBS.org. If you haven't visited the new site yet, you should check it out now and behold the power of Merlin! Although it is a bit early to be drawing any solid conclusions about Merlin's effect on web traffic, we have already started to see signs of improvement in local and national traffic to and from PBS.org:
- During the last 14 days, traffic on PBS.org is up 19% compared to the previous 2 weeks. New visits are up 20%.
- The number of video streams on PBS.org is up 25% compared to the previous 2 weeks.
- Traffic to PBS.org from mobile devices increased 12% compared to the previous 2 weeks.
- Traffic to PBS.org from iPads (not via the new PBS app, but traffic directly to the website itself) was up 35% compared to the previous 2 weeks.
And here's why stations in particular should start getting excited about how Merlin can benefit their local online presences:
- This week, localized traffic on PBS.org is up 40% over last week.
- Over 1.2 million visits (or 14% of total visits) were localized to a local station site - up from 12% of visits during the previous 2 weeks before launch. 54% of those visits were NEW visits to the site, 142% higher than (more than double) the two weeks before.
- Traffic going from PBS.org to station sites is up about 22% compared to the two weeks prior to the redesign launch.
If you're still not convinced that Merlin can revolutionize your station's online presence, I have ten more reasons why you should start getting excited about this cutting-edge initiative:
(click to enlarge)