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'Sesame Street' Bows SVOD Service

8 Apr, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Venerable children’s brand represents a significant kids/family competitor to Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus at $3.99 a month

Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus’ attempt to lure children and their parents through a walled platform just got a new — major — competitor.

Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind the venerable “Sesame Street” children’s program, said it has launched a subscription streaming service called “Sesame Go.”

The over-the-top platform, which is operated by Kaltura MediaGo, streams current and catalog ad-free episodes of “Sesame Street” to connected devices and TVs for $3.99 a month, or $29.99 a year in the United States only.

The service could offer significant competition to Netflix Kids, Hulu Kids and Amazon Prime Instant Video's kid-centric programming through mothers and families looking for an inexpensive streaming source of recognizable content for children without advertising.

“Sesame Go provides families with a unique experience we have never offered before — a secure, ad-free environment with full-length 'Sesame Street' TV episodes they can watch anytime and anywhere,” Scott Chambers, SVP of worldwide media distribution at Sesame Workshop, said in a statement. “Parents can explore the episodes with their children or they can feel comfortable allowing them to navigate on their own knowing they will only find the characters they love.”

While the service is limited to "Sesame Street" content, which includes Big Bird, Elmo, Ernie & Bert and the Cookie Monster, among other characters, the brand’s recognition and reputation among parents is almost unparalleled.

“Sesame Street,” which first aired in 1969, currently broadcasts in 150 countries. Forbes estimated the Sesame Street characters appeared on 1,700 consumer products, generating $200 million in business at the wholesale level, in 1984 — the year before its most lucrative character — Elmo — was introduced.

Indeed, in 2011, Sesame Workshop generated $46.9 million in licensing revenue just from “Sesame Street,” excluding its well-known characters.

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