PBS Names Ira Rubenstein New General Manager of Digital

Takes over division that brought us Mr. Rogers, autotuned

Ira Rubenstein has been named general manager of PBS Digital.

Rubenstein will oversee¬†PBS’s websites, apps and partnerships with entities such as Hulu and Apple TV, as well as PBS Digital Studios, the network’s online initiative to lure a wider range of viewers to public television.

PBS is great at drawing children, who learn math and reading from “Sesame Street,” and older viewers, who appreciate its mix of British drama, Ken Burns documentaries and music. But it isn’t as successful at capturing viewers in-between — except for “Downton Abbey” fans.

PBS Digital tries to draw them in by going where they are — online. Its offerings have included a series of youTube videos of PBS personalities, autotuned.

Also read:Mr. Rogers Remixed: Watch PBS’ Hot New Autotuned Video

Rubenstein joins PBS from mobile media company MeeMee Media, where he was CEO and a member of the board of directors. Prior to that, he served as executive vice president of Digital Marketing for 20th Century Fox, where he established the digital marketing organization and led the campaigns for such films as “Prometheus,” ” Chronicle,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “X-Men: First Class.”As general manager, Rubenstein will lead all digital content and service efforts for PBS and its member stations. He leads more than 70 full-time employees.

Rubenstein will report to PBS chief operating officer Michael Jones and serve as a member of PBS’ senior leadership team. His tenure begins March 24.

“The rapid growth and prevalence of digital technology offers PBS and local member stations a great opportunity to further connect with our audience,” said PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger. “With his proven track record in leading and growing innovative digital services, Mr. Rubenstein’s expertise will be invaluable to PBS and our Digital team as we continue our mission of reaching all Americans with content of consequence.”

Also read:¬†PBS Finds a ‘Lost Generation’ of Viewers, Thanks to ‘Downton,’ Romney and Mr. Rogers Remixed

Added Rubenstein: “How, when and where media is consumed continues to evolve at a breakneck pace, and it’s clear that PBS and local member stations have been committed to being leaders in the children’s digital space, original video development and using digital distribution methods to ensure that local and national content is available everywhere viewers want it. I look forward to leading the Digital team and working with PBS member stations as we continue to innovate in today’s digital media landscape.”