The latest Ken Burns
documentary entitled ‘Prohibition
’ is set to debut on the iPhone and iPad starting September 23. PBS
will be showing the first episode of this three-part series exclusively on iOS devices. The series will then be shown in its entirety on PBS TV channels and on PBS.org beginning October 2-4.
According to PBS, “‘Prohibition’ is a three-part, five-and-a-half-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that tells the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the entire era it encompassed.”
The PBS video-streaming app
has been extremely successful for the network. According to PBS Senior Vice-President Jason Seiken, 52 million people watched PBS programming on their iDevices last month alone. The network hopes to build on this success with the premier of Ken Burns’ latest documentary.
According to the website, “The story of Prohibition's rise and fall is a compelling saga that goes far beyond the oft-told tales of gangsters, rum runners, flappers, and speakeasies, to reveal a complicated and divided nation in the throes of momentous transformation.”
This documentary will also show how “Prohibition turned law-abiding citizens into criminals, made a mockery of the justice system, caused illicit drinking to seem glamorous and fun.”
Ken Burns is known for making history come alive with actual photos, letters and stories from the time period. His technique of filming still photos by panning and zooming across an image has become legendary. It is so well-know that Apple includes the ‘Ken Burns effect’ as a standard feature with its iMovie video editing software.
With millions of viewers dropping their cable providers every day, major networks must find a way to keep people watching their programming or risk going under. The major networks would be wise to follow in PBS’s footsteps. I look forward to watching what is sure to be another excellent Ken Burns documentary.