Sesame Workshop Celebrates 45 Years of Sesame Street with New Apps, Games, and More

Cookie Monster and Alan Muraoka at the recent Digital Playground event hosted by Sesame Workshop.

Sesame Street turns 45 this year, and this past Tuesday, Sesame Workshop hosted a digital playground event in New York City to show off new apps, e-books, and other multimedia offerings for children age 5 and younger. During the morning-long event, several dozen little ones got to play test the latest in Sesame Street-branded games, which were set up at iPad stations. They also watched long- and short-format clips of Sesame Street online, courtesy of the brand’s latest digital video platforms.

During his welcome to guests, Scott Chambers, senior vice president of worldwide media distribution for Sesame Workshop, said that Sesame Street currently has an audience of roughly 5 million viewers on PBS. However, he pointed out that among the most recent generation of viewers, 63 percent of that audience is introduced to the program digitally; hence, Sesame Workshop’s latest efforts to develop the brand across a number of digital platforms.

Chambers, along with guest speakers Cookie Monster and Alan Muraoka of Sesame Street fame, took turns emphasizing the importance of self-regulation for kids–a theme reflected in several apps on-hand. One of the newest, Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame, teaches kids ages 2 to 5 how to deal with tough emotions by letting them play as a cute horned monster. Kids are presented with a choice of problem scenarios, such as having trouble getting dressed or getting ready for school, and then a choice of possible solutions. [Read more...]

National STEM Video Game Challenge Invites Students to Design Their Own Video Games

The National STEM Video Game Challenge—presented by E-Line Media, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, and the Smithsonian—is accepting student submissions of original video games and game designs. The Challenge motivates youths’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning by tapping into their passion for playing and creating video games.

The Challenge is accepting entries from U.S. students in the middle and high school categories: The middle school category is open to students in grades 5 to 8, while the high school category is open to students in grades 9 to 12. Both invite entries for individuals and teams of up to four students, and entries can be created using any game creation platform such as Gamestar Mechanic, Unity, GameMaker, and Scratch or a written game design concept document.

Judges will select winners for each game creation platform in both categories, with each winner receiving a cash prize of $1,000, as well as game design and educational software. Each winner’s sponsoring organization will receive a cash prize of $2000.

The National STEM Video Game Challenge is accepting entries through February 25, 2015. Complete guidelines and details on how to enter are available at www.stemchallenge.org.

Funko Partners with Sesame Street on New Pop! Series

Funko.SesameStreetFunko has a new license with Sesame Workshop to create a series of Sesame Street Pop! Vinyl figures. The partnership will launch at this month’s New York Comic Con with the first to market release of a Super Grover Pop! Vinyl figure, which stands 3.75 inches tall and comes in a window display box. The Super Grover Pop! Vinyl figure will be available for sale at Toy Tokyo’s New York Comic Con Booth.

A complete Sesame Street Pop! series will follow next year. The Sesame Street Pop! series will include Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, Oscar, The Count, Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Grover.

“As a company, we feel that the Sesame Street license is a fantastic way to bring our older customers back to their youth, while at the same time introducing our fun new line of collectables to younger generations,” says Andrew Perlmutter, vice president of sales.

Jeffrey Dunn Named President and CEO, Sesame Workshop

sesame-workshopVincent Mai, chairman of the board of trustees of Sesame Workshop, announced today the appointment of Jeffrey Dunn as president and CEO of Sesame Workshop, effective September 29. Dunn, formerly the president and CEO of Hit Entertainment, will succeed Mel Ming, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Dunn currently serves as a 2014 Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University with a focus on media and education. Previously, he served as president and CEO of Hit Entertainment from 2008 until 2012. Before joining Hit, Dunn served as group COO of the Nickelodeon Networks group and the president of Nickelodeon Film and Enterprises, where, among other things, he built Nickelodeon’s international networks business and oversaw the growth of Blue’s Clues, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Dora the Explorer into three of the world’s largest licensed property brands.

Sesame Workshop and Ounce Partner for Family Engagement

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, and Ounce of Prevention Fund (Ounce), are partnering on a new parent and child engagement initiative. The program is aimed to bolster parents’ understanding of the importance of early education and foster social-emotional development in their kids.

In collaboration with the National Head Start Association (NHSA), the partnership is set to develop resources for lower income communities to link experiences in the classroom with those at home in support of school readiness.

This program was announced by Secretary Hillary Clinton during the CGI America 2014 meeting, and is set to launch in early 2015 with three key components: a mobile platform with tips for parents to connect their children via media offerings such as videos and activities; a social network that will offer parent-to-parent contributions, connections, and encouragements; and a toolkit to help educators reinforce relationships and build connections between parents.

Wicked Cool and Sesame Workshop to Partner on Summer and Seasonal Products

WickedCoollogoupdatedWicked Cool Toys has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Sesame Workshop for summer and seasonal toys based on classic Sesame Street legacy characters, including Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Abby Cadabby. The licensing agreement covers North America, and the line is expected to include balls, hoppers, sprinklers, and sandboxes. These items will begin arriving at retail next spring.

“We are thrilled to be working with the talented entertainment innovators at Sesame Workshop, and to bring a line of engaging seasonal, sand, and water toys to market beginning next year,” said Jeremy Padawer, co-president of Wicked Cool Toys.

Warner Bros., Sesame Workshop Release Sesame Street: Fairytale Fun DVD

Sesame StreetWarner Bros. Home Entertainment and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, have released Sesame Street: Fairytale Fun on DVD. Now kids can join Elmo and Abby on their educational adventure through fairytales, such as Hansel and Gretel and nursery rhymes with Mother Goose.

The two-hour DVD includes a CinderElmo bonus feature and everyone’s favorite Sesame Street monsters such as Oscar the Grouch. Now in its 44th season, Sesame Street is the longest-running program in kids’ TV and this new addition to the program’s collection of DVDs will be just as fun and educational. The Sesame Street: Fairytale Fun release is also available for digital download.

Women In Industry Luncheon Benefits K.I.D.S and Fashion Delivers

womeninindustryThe seventh annual Women In Industry Luncheon raised more than $200,000 on June 6 to benefit Kids In Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) and Fashion Delivers Charitable Foundation Inc., partner charities that have provided more than $1 billion in new product donations to families impacted by poverty and natural disasters.  The event, held at Cipriani 42 St. in New York City, introduced Denise Durham Williams as the new president and CEO of K.I.D.S. and honored Margaret Hayes, president of Fashion Group International; Kelly Neal Mariotti, CEO of First Candle; Joanne Podell, vice chairman, retail services, Cushman & Wakefield; and Maura Regan, senior vice president and general manager, global consumer products, Sesame WorkshopNY1 News journalist Jessica Abo was the emcee. A portion of the proceeds raised by the event will support the charities’ relief efforts for families affected by the recent Oklahoma tornadoes.

Hasbro Wows with New Playskool Sesame Street Collection

Hasbro Inc.’s Playskool brand, in partnership with Sesame Workshop has introduced new items starring favorite Sesame Street characters including Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Ernie. This year’s lineup includes the Big Hugs Elmo plush that hugs preschoolers back, the Sesame Street P.A.L. app learning system that encourages tots to learn and explore in a digital environment, and the interactive world of Roads & Rails that combines two favorite playtime activities for preschoolers: cars and trains. [Read more...]

Sesame Workshop VP Added to Roster of Speakers at Content Connection

Courtesy of Toy Industry Association

Ann Kearns, vice president of licensing at Sesame Workshop, has been added to the Content Connection roster of speakers. The Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) Content Connection will take place February 10 to 11 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.  [Read more...]