According to the New York Times, the residents of Sesame Street will be moving away from the only television home they’ve ever known starting this fall. Sesame Workshop has entered into an agreement with HBO to air the next five seasons of the popular family educational show on its pay TV channel and through its various streaming options.
The move is largely financial. In any given year PBS really only provided about ten percent of the total funding for Sesame Street. The rest came mostly from merchandise and DVD sales. With more and more content available for online streaming, the money just wasn’t coming through like it used to. The change also allows Sesame Workshop to produce nearly twice as many episodes per season as they were able to make on PBS (35, up from 18), and they will also be afforded the opportunity to create a new spinoff show based on Sesame Street characters as well as a new educational program.
PBS won’t be left completely out in the dark, however. As part of the deal, new episodes will be broadcast on HBO, then after nine months they’ll be available for free on PBS. PBS also won’t lose out in the immediate future once the deal starts this fall, as episodes from recent seasons will be shown, some of which will be edited in new ways.
All parties involved – including PBS – have spoken favorably about the deal. Sesame Workshop is obviously excited to be able to produce more episodes, new programming, and overall more quality educational entertainment for children. HBO gets an established, prestigious, and instantly recognized brand to add to their expanding selection of children’s programming.
The only people that probably aren’t particularly happy are at Amazon and Netflix. Since episodes of Sesame Street will now be available on HBO’s streaming services, all episodes that were previously on competing services (i.e. Amazon and Netflix) will be removed. I guess not even Sesame Street can make everyone happy.
All-in-all though, great news for Sesame Workshop and for children in general. While the HBO exclusivity may be a hurdle for some, children will still get to see even more of the Sesame Street that they know and love on PBS.Source: The New York Times