This deal is brought to you by the letters HBO: In a pact between Time Warner’s premium cable network and Sesame Workshop, the next five seasons of Sesame Street will be available beginning this fall on HBO and its multiplex channels, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and the new internet-only SVOD service HBO NOW. After a nine-month window, the show will be available free of charge to PBS and its member stations.
Financial terms were not disclosed. But this should improve HBO NOW’s appeal to kids, an important draw for streaming services — a field where it competes with Netflix. In addition, it relieves some of the financial pressure on Sesame Workshop which has seen revenues from DVD sales dry up over the last several years.
“Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning public-private partnership model,” said Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop’s CEO. “It provides Sesame Workshop with the critical funding it needs to be able to continue production of Sesame Street and secure its nonprofit mission of helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder; it gives HBO exclusive pay cable and SVOD access to the nation’s most important and historic educational programming; and it allows Sesame Street to continue to air on PBS and reach all children, as it has for the past 45 years.”
In addition to the next five seasons of Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop will produce a Sesame Street Muppet spinoff series, as well as develop a new original educational series for children. HBO has also licensed over 150 library episodes of Sesame Street. HBO will be the exclusive, first-run subscription television distribution partner for Sesame Street and the new series. HBO will have the right to air all series in both English and Spanish. All new series will also be made available to PBS and its member stations after the first window. Episodes of Sesame Street will continue to be made available, uninterrupted, as part of the PBS KIDS service on PBS member stations.
“We are absolutely thrilled to help secure the future of Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop’s mission for the nation’s kids and families,” says HBO chief Richard Plepler.
Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney adds that “over the past decade, both the way in which children are consuming video and the economics of the children’s television production business have changed dramatically. In order to fund our nonprofit mission with a sustainable business model, Sesame Workshop must recognize these changes and adapt to the times.”
In addition to Sesame Street, HBO will license approximately 50 past episodes of the two acclaimed children’s series Pinky Dinky Doo, an animated series for preschoolers that focuses on early literacy, and The Electric Company, which was rebooted in 2009, from Sesame Workshop.