After getting enough of the post-debate commentary Monday evening, I turned to PBS on our Apple TV and went looking for an older episode of Antiques Roadshow to pass some time.
And discovered PBS has erected a paywall around content that was previously available, including Antiques Roadshow. Their posted explanation doesn’t identify exactly what is behind the paywall. For now, I guess you have to select something and see if it’s restricted.
But previously broadcast episodes of Antiques Roadshow, formerly available, are now safely guarded behind the new paywall, which they call the PBS Hawaii Passport.
Okay, it’s not unexpected that PBS would eventually experiment with the paywall routine, even while others, like Civil Beat, have recently moved in the opposite direction by making their content free and open.
But I wish PBS would just be honest about it. They need the money. Fair enough.
Instead, the new paywall is being described as a “benefit” to viewers.
Introducing a new benefit to PBS Hawai‘i supporters that provides extended on-demand access to quality PBS programming.
The problem with this statement is that these archives were previously available online and on platforms like the Apple TV. Now they are restricted to donors of $60 or more.
So I quickly went to the PBS Hawaii website, donated the necessary $60, and expected to receive the information needed to jump the paywall.
Not so fast. The website asked for my “activation code.” None has been received. As a backup, it asked for my email address used when I donated. I entered it. But then PBS returned another error: “That email address is not in our system.”
So for the time being, I’m unable to jump the paywall. Hopefully this just represents growing pains for their paywall system. I’ll just see what happens next