In its quest to make bigger waves in streaming media, HBO is coming armed with some very influential puppets.
This Saturday (Jan. 16) marks the launch of the “Kids” section on HBO’s mobile application, HBO GO, as well as new children’s programming on its TV network. The centerpiece of both rollouts (which will include popular kids’ programs, like “The Electric Company” and “Pinky Dinky Doo”) is the venerable “Sesame Street” — which HBO, TechCrunch reminds us, brokered the rights to in a deal with Sesame Workshop last year. (Under the deal, HBO will broadcast new episodes of “Sesame Street” for nine months, at which point those episodes will begin airing on PBS — the show’s home for its 45 years of existence.)
While the expansion to HBO was beneficial to “Sesame Street” in that it offered a salve for its struggling DVD sales — the program’s primary source of revenue when it was based full-time at PBS — in the face of that medium being overtaken by streaming services, the TechCrunch story notes that having an internationally recognized institution like “Sesame Street” as a feather in its cap puts HBO in a unique position to compete with streaming services, like Amazon, Netflix and Hulu, on an enormously powerful battleground: children’s programming.
Family and children’s programming, the outlet explains, are a key facet in the ever-expanding popularity of streaming services over traditional broadcast and cable television and DVDs. While HBO — viewed for years as a home for high-end, adult-targeted programming — is starting from behind the aforementioned streaming services (all of which already offer dedicated collections of kid-friendly entertainment), “Sesame Street,” attests TechCrunch, could go a long way towards expanding its reputation to a source of family programming in relatively short time.