What the HBO – ‘Sesame Street’ deal really means for PBS, and for you

We assume that many of you awoke this morning to find out the news that HBO has struck a deal with Sesame Workshop to be the home for the next five seasons of “Sesame Street,” and your first reaction may have been surprise. The show has been such a staple of public television on PBS, so why move it?

Well, there are a variety of different reasons for this, with making sure the series stays funded being one of them. Thanks to the deal the show can produce almost twice as many episodes as before, and it will still air on PBS … eventually. Nine months after the episodes air on the pay-cable station, they will make their way over to PBS at no cost to them. This is where this deal is effectively brilliant. While PBS was able to fund “Sesame Street” easily decades ago, problems have arisen in the age of On-Demand and tablet viewing. It has become increasingly hard for them to fund the show with lower ratings, which has meant smaller episode counts.

Now, there is no need to worry about this. HBO pays the money, and the episodes are available across all of its different platforms.

In a statement, here is what Sesame Workshop CEO Jeffrey D. Dunn had to say:

“Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning public-private partnership model … 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 [the show] to continue to air on PBS and reach all children, as it has for the past 45 years.”

This new deal is going to also allow for spin-offs and so much more, but for now the big thing to note is that HBO is getting the first-run rights, and they also are going to be able to air more than 150 past episodes to go along with it.

The big thing to note here is that the show is not going away, and this new deal helps PBS and also allows HBO subscribers a chance to give their children more kid-friendly programming.

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