The makers of Sesame Street announced a five-season deal with HBO that will allow it to produce almost twice as many shows and will give HBO, and all of its subscription apps and services, exclusive rights to the new programs for nine months.
According to Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame, the shows will then be made available for free to PBS and its member stations. HBO has licensed more than 150 library episodes of the show, and new episodes should begin arriving as soon as fall of this year.
The deal is a significant play in the battle for streaming video. According to the New York Times, episodes of Sesame Street currently available on Netflix and Amazon will be removed.
The HBO deal will infuse the series with much-needed cash. Less than 10% of Sesame’s funding has come from PBS–its home for the past 45 years, the Times reports. Licensing revenue from DVD sales and other sources was keeping the franchise afloat, but the rise in streaming has pinched that revenue stream.SL