As reported by various news outlets including The New York Times, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit group behind the children’s television program, Sesame Street, has struck a deal with HBO that will bring the show’s next five seasons to the premium cable network and its streaming outlets beginning this fall.
The partnership will allow Sesame Workshop to significantly increase its production of Sesame Street and other new programming. It will produce 35 new Sesame Street episodes per year, up from the 18 it produces now. Sesame Workshop will also create a spinoff series based on the Sesame Street Muppets and a new educational series for children.
Under the deal, after nine months of programming exclusively on HBO, the shows will be available free on PBS. Sesame Street will also continue its run on PBS this fall, with the season featuring a selection of episodes from the last several seasons.
The partnership with HBO comes at a time of declining licensing revenue for Sesame Workshop. Historically, less than 10 percent of the funding for Sesame Street episodes comes from PBS, with the rest financed through licensing revenue, such as DVD sales.
The deal also comes as Amazon, Netflix, and other online outlets are investing resources into acquiring and developing original children’s series. The Sesame Street episodes available on Amazon and Netflix will no longer be on those outlets because of the HBO deal.