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PBS Enters Worker-Training Field : Narrowcast Service to Offer Videos to Corporate Clients

January 26, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — The training of workers in the United States is a $30-billion industry, and the Public Broadcasting Service--using its technology, talent and innovation--is seeking a share of the business.

But not, of course, with a profit motive, PBS marketing official Jim Troy said after the premiere earlier this month of the National Narrowcast Service.

The service offers corporate training and informational programming in five areas of interest, or "tracks," as PBS calls them. They include sales and marketing, management and supervision, computer literacy, effective communications and technical skills.

In addition to the five basic subject areas, NNS also will offer four premium tracks that are tailor-made for accountants, corporate counsels, corporate trainers and computer specialists.

A track will offer from five to 10 hours of programming each month.

What is unique about this program is that PBS, or any of its 310 member stations, can transmit the training videos directly into the workplace via satellite, microwave or addressable cable.

Subscribers to NNS can tape the programs, decide which they like, and use them for up to one year. After that, the subscribers are legally bound to erase the tapes.

Extension of Mission

The idea is to maximize training opportunities while minimizing the time and expense, NNS says.

"The reason PBS is doing this," Troy said, "is because we have a history of doing educational programming and this is an extension of that mission."

The service, which took three years to develop, will allow trainers to view hundreds of videos right off their monitors.

Companies that have signed with NNS include Teledyne Ryan Electronics, Hartford Co., Travelers Insurance and Intelsat.

All of the tapes used for the service were made by more than 50 nationally recognized and quality producers, including Time-Life Video, McGraw-Hill Training Systems, Training House and Anderson Soft-teach, Troy said.

Some, but not all of the videos, have been produced specifically for NNS. The service also is offering tapes of teleconferences on issues concerning business as part of the training package. Those issues include drugs and alcohol in the workplace, AIDS in the workplace, tax reform, health-care cost containment and inventory control.

How much will NNS cost? It depends on which tracks the subscriber selects and how many employees it wants to train. The fees range from $2,000 to $13,500 for the basic service, with added expense for premium tracks.

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