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Warner to Distribute ‘Sesame Street’ Videos Starting 2010

15 Oct, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Warner Home Video has signed a multiyear distribution deal with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the venerable children’s television program “Sesame Street.”

Under the deal, Warner assumes control of all new releases and the “Sesame Street” catalog (about 120 titles) from previous distributor Genius Products beginning Jan. 1, 2010. The deal also includes rights to electronic streaming and transactional video-on-demand (and cable) in the United States and Canada.

Vivendi Entertainment, which recently acquired numerous properties and some staff from Genius, will distribute Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days when it streets Nov. 10.

Warner’s first Sesame release, Elmo’s World: Let’s Play Music, is scheduled to bow in February. The studio plans to release up to 10 “Sesame Street” titles per year.

Sesame Workshop, which reportedly distributed 4 million DVDs last year, said disc sales climbed 28% in 2008, underscoring the perennial strength of children’s packaged media.

“The association between Warner Home Video and Sesame Workshop builds our leadership position in the family and animation segment,” said Jeff Brown, EVP and GM of TV, family and animation for WHV. “We look forward to the opportunity to work with this extremely popular brand and further its success in the marketplace.”

Brown said the acquisition would help secure Warner Home Video’s top ranking in nontheatrical family and animation content. He said the studio would continue to focus on physical delivery versus digital when dealing with family and children’s fare.

“While digital will become important, the primary segment still will be packaged media for years to come,” Brown said.

The studio also has packaged media and electronic distribution deals with family-oriented brands such as Dr. Seuss, Popeye, Peanuts, Hot Wheels, American Girl, Cartoon Network, Scholastic and The Wiggles, in addition to animated properties such as Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, Hanna Barbera and Scooby-Doo, among others.



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